FINALLY, HE OBEYED
“As a deer panteth for the water,
So, my soul longs after You;
You alone are my heart’s desire,
And I long to worship You!”
Shalem was singing his heart out as he led the little group in Worship. He repeated the chorus prayerfully and slowly. Those around him stretched out their hands up in an attitude of praise as he gently strummed the strings of his guitar. Somewhere in the outer circle stood Jabez, a little aloof from the group. He was not used to this form of worship and was feeling a little uncomfortable.
“Hello Jabez! How are things?” asked Shalem as they were all sharing biscuits and tea at the end of their fellowship time. “I am fine Shalem,” said Jabez as he broke a biscuit, “You are a fantastic worship leader!” Shalem didn’t know what to say. He just smiled, as he felt very happy.
“You know what! After the fellowship, Jabez came and said that I was a great worship leader!” shared Shalem to his friend Paul. “Is that so Shalem” he retorted, “ I am so glad for you. God has given a beautiful talent to you. Err… Shalem I need something from you. Could you lend me some money? I have to send some to my Mum at home urgently. I shall pay you back as soon as I get my pay.”
Shalem’s face fell suddenly. Not that he had no money to spare. But he loved money and hated to give it or even use it. “ I… I.. I’ll have to see whether I can afford it...” he mumbled as he shuffled away. By the time Paul looked up, he was gone.
“Any one home? It’s all so silent here,” shouted Jabez as he entered the room. He found Paul sitting with his head in his hands. “Hey! What’s up Paul?” he queried, “Aren’t you feeling well? You look as if you are down in the dumps?” He came close to Paul and put his arm around his shoulders, and sat close to him.
As Paul opened his heart out, tears dripped slowly on his cheeks. “ What shall I say Jabez? You know that I support my poor widowed mother back at home. I ran out of money this month. So, I asked Shalem to lend me. I told him I would pay it back as soon as I get my pay. I know that he has plenty of money to spare, as he is so careful with money. But he just murmured something and slipped away. I feel so bad, Jabez.”
Jabez took his handkerchief out and wiped Paul’s tears away. He gently said, “ Don’t you fret Paul. I’ll lend you some money. Take it and send it home. You can repay me when you can” He took his wallet out immediately from his pocket and handed the bills to Paul. Gratefully Paul took the money. “ I shall never forget your kindness Jabez. God bless you for caring so much for me.” He said.
Later that night, in Shalem’s bed room…
As he opened his Bible, Shalem’s eyes fell on the 15th chapter of I Samuel, which he read carefully. One of the verses in that chapter seemed to speak directly to him. “ Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?” (I Sam. 15:22: NIV)
Shalem wept bitterly as he knelt down. He prayed,
“Dear Lord and Father! I confess that I love to lead your praises and worship in the fellowship. But when my dear brother Paul asked for a loan, I literally ran away from him. I did not obey your Word, O Lord. Please forgive me and help me make amends. I want to repent. Help me make money my slave and not my master.”
He got up from his knees, fully resolved to obey God. He set out to search for Paul. He wanted to ask him forgiveness and lend him whatever he wanted.
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