I met with one of my pastor friends yesterday and he shared with me that he had been haunted by the question a guest speaker had asked in his pulpit the week before. The speaker told the story of a pastor who had encountered a group of prostitutes in a diner late one night. One of the prostitutes was lamenting that the following day was her birthday, and that no one had ever celebrated her birthday before. The pastor having overheard the conversation plans a birthday party for her and she is overwhelmed by the kindness shown. After telling this story, the speaker in my friend’s church asked this question: “Is this the type of church that would throw a birthday party for a prostitute?”
This morning I was meeting with another pastor at our church telling him about our ministry. I told him about the woman from the streets my wife and I had taken in last year. Not ten minutes later, guess who came walking through the door this same woman. She had just been released from the hospital and is still on the streets. She asked if she could give me a hug and when I hugged her she just held tightly to me and sobbed.
After we had prayed for her and began working on her immediate needs, she told me: “Friday’s my birthday.” She’ll turn 47 on Friday. She told me that she had never had anyone to celebrate her birthday with her. I knew immediately what needed to be done. I called my friend and told him: “I think God is asking your church to put up or shut up.” I told him that we had a birthday party to plan for on Friday.
I find it so amazing how God works and stretches us.