Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Simple Man, A Simple Question, A Profound Impact

I heard this true story in our adult Bible class this morning:

A man was on a business trip to Sydney, Australia a few years ago. While there, he had some free time and decided to walk around the city. As he was about to cross a busy street, he felt a tap on his shoulder. When he turned around, a homeless man asked him, "If you were to die tomorrow, where would you spend eternity?" Then, the homeless man walked away without saying another word.

The homeless man's question haunted the businessman for the next several days. He began to evaluate his life and his destination.

When he arrived back at his home in Atlanta, Georgia, he decided to attend a large church nearby. The preacher gave a powerful and eloquent sermon about Christ. At the end of the sermon, the businessman stepped forward, announced his faith in Christ and was baptized. Afterward, he wanted to speak to the congregation. He told them that the sermon was very good, but that it had little to do with his conversion to Christ. He told the church about the simple question of a simple homeless man in Australia that had changed the direction of his life earlier in the week.

Two week later, another man who had walked away from following Christ many years earlier came forward at the end of the worship service. He wanted to confess his sins and recommit his life to the Savior. Without knowing the story of the man who had become a Christian a couple of weeks earlier, this man told about his recent vacation to Sydney, Australia. While there, a homeless man had tapped him on the shoulder and asked him, "If you were to die tomorrow, where would you spend eternity?" The homeless man's question provoked the man to re-evaluate his life and the emptiness of it. He decided to return to Christ and to the church.

The congregation was amazed at the impact of a homeless man's question who lived half a world away. It revolutionized their desire to make a difference in the lives of the people around them.

Years later, the minister of the congregation was on a short-term mission trip to Sydney, Australia. He remembered the stories about the homeless man who had changed the lives of two of his members. So, he decided to walk the street on which the homeless man had confronted two strangers who would become dedicated members of his church. He walked the street for hours without success. Just as he was starting to feel like giving up, he felt a tap on his shoulder. The preacher turned around to see a homeless man. Before the homeless man could get a word out, the preacher said, "I know what you are going to say. You're going to ask me, 'If you were to die tomorrow, where would you spend eternity?'" The homeless man was surprised. Then, the preacher told the story of what had happened in his hometown church because of that man's question. The homeless man was overwhelmed. He broke into tears as he explained, "I have been asking that question everyday for years, but I have always wondered if I was making any difference at all."

Do you ever wonder if you are making any difference at all? I do. Please be assured that if you are following Christ, caring for the welfare of others, and living to honor God, you are making a difference. Our simple actions can have a profound impact, even when we are unaware.


Christy said...

Good one, thanks.

Anonymous said...


Terry said...

Thanks, guys! I found it encouraging too.