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I Saw Jesus Smoking A Cigarette
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40 NIV).
Each week I join in with a handful of men from around the country for a one-hour meeting on Zoom. I really look forward to these meetings and enjoy the conversation. I have learned a lot about these men, life, love, family, and God. I think it is so imperative to surround yourself with Godly people to help position yourself to hear from God. I am convinced that God uses each of us to speak His words to each other.
The host of the meeting is a long-time dear friend of mine that lives in St. Francisville, La. In the Wesleyan style of a good Methodist, he asks each participant two questions. First, “how is it with your soul?” Second, “When were you closest to Christ this past week?” These are two fundamental questions from the The Class Meeting. Historically, Class Meetings “made sure that every Methodist was connected to other Methodists, so no one was left out, ignored, or overlooked,” notes the Rev. Kevin Watson, a United Methodist elder and Assistant Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies at Candler School of Theology. “They relentlessly focused every Methodist on the current state of their relationship with God. And they connected people to others who were at different stages of the Christian life.”
Last week when the host asked me the two questions, I struggled to formulate a coherent answer. I did not want to lie and tell him everything was great, but like most men I did not want to burden the group with my struggles. He gently asked a few more questions, and I told the truth that I was frustrated with several things and the pace at which some things were moving. I am not a big fan of procrastination or going slow.
The wives of one of the men was listening in to the Zoom meeting. She contacted me later and said she wanted to help. Naturally, my inclination was to thank her and politely decline. This is known as pride. As she asked a second time, I responded with humility and agreed. She asked for my grocery list, and I sent it to her. The next day the doorbell rang. I had forgotten about my friend’s wife and assumed it was a delivery person. I went to the door and there she stood with my groceries and a smile.
I was overwhelmed with her kindness and offered to pay. She refused payment so I tried again, and she declined again. I thanked her, prayed for her, and sent her a hand-written thank you note. I was depressed and in mourning, but her presence brought comfort. Isn’t this what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
Like many of you I have seen hundreds of paintings of Jesus over my life. Some are Him with children, praying, preaching, or walking the road to Emmaus. That day I saw Jesus on my front porch with a smile and some groceries. I realize it might sound strange, but Jesus was smoking a cigarette. Her name is Lynda Jenkins, and she is the wife of my friend Ed. They live in St. Francisville, La.
Prayer: Dear God, Help us to understand the blessing of giving and receiving to those in need. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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