June 8, 2020

Occidental Community Church family,

Luke 6:38. "Give and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

There are some verses of Scripture that come alive only after you see them lived out in the life of another.  This is one of those verses for me.  The man who opened my eyes to this verse in a way no one had before was Richard Wurmbrand.  He was a Romanian pastor who was imprisoned for fourteen years by the Communists following WWII.  Because he refused to stop preaching the gospel when Romania came under Communist rule, he was arrested in 1948 and imprisoned.  This began fourteen years of confinement and torture which Pastor Wurmbrand related in his book Tortured for Christ.  Following his release, he came to America and started a ministry to help persecuted Christians all over the world.  It is known as the Voice of the Martyrs and is still active today around the world wherever Christian persecution is found.

I had the privilege of meeting Richard Wurmbrand twenty years ago when he was 89 years old at a Voice of the Martyrs missions conference in Irvine, California.  He was still so crippled by the torture he had suffered in prison that two men had to carry him up to the platform and place him in a recliner.  Before he spoke, his adult son, Michael, stood up to introduce him to the crowd.  Michael began by telling us that his father still weeps whenever he speaks of the suffering endured by Christians today around the world.  To give us a glimpse of the compassionate heart of this extraordinary man, Michael told the following story:

His father loved to tell him stories when he was a boy.  He was five years old when his father told him a story about a wealthy but greedy old woman who had an unexpected visitor one day.  Although she could afford to give him a good meal, all she offered him to eat was some rotting, moldy cheese that she was about to throw away. 

That night she had a dream.  In her dream she saw herself in heaven with the saints eating a meal.  While others were enjoying delicious food, she saw herself alone in a corner eating the same rotten old cheese that she had given her guest that day.  Michael's father had told him this story to illustrate the teaching of Jesus in Luke 6:38. "Give and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."  

Michael went on to say that a few days after his father had told him that story, a well-to-do member of their church gave Pastor Wurmbrand some fine material for a new suit.  At that time he had only one suit, and it was old and well-worn.  A tailor then proceeded to make a custom-fitted suit for his father.  It was beautiful!

Five-year-old Michael approached his father and said, "Father, there is a poor man in our church who always comes to worship in worn out clothes.  Now that you have two suits, shouldn't you give him one of them?"   Richard looked down at his son and asked, "And which one of the suits do you think I should give him?"  Michael responded, "The one you want to wear in heaven, father."

In a few hours the poor man was standing in their living room.  Michael watched as his father presented this man with his brand new tailored suit.  Michael beamed as he concluded the introduction of his father to us, "This is the man I am proud to call my father."

Since this experience, I have never read Luke 6:38 without remembering what I heard that day in Irvine, California.  When you and I have an opportunity to give to others, do we give the best we have, or do we give only leftovers?  What if we were to receive in heaven some day only what we have given away during this lifetime?  Would it amount to much or little?  Think on this.


Trusting in Him,
Pastor Rick

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Pastor Rick will be posting a video sermon every Sunday on our church website until we are able to meet together again for worship in our sanctuary. Pray with me that will be soon!
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