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Lessons From Homer Smith…

I am an old movie fanatic and…I happen to be a huge Sidney Poitier fan. If you have never read his book, “The Measure of a Man” you are missing out. It isn’t a Christian book, but you need to broaden your reading anyway…

The movie “The Lillies of the Field” was a story that Ralph Nelson a movie producer had run across. He had approached United Artist with the idea, and they said, “Yeah…sure…why not?”

But they didn’t give him much money for the picture. He had to mortgage his own home in order to meet the production schedule. The entire movie was shot in the Arizona Desert in two weeks including rehearsal and actual filming. The entire budget for the film? $250,000.00

Sidney Poitier in 1964 won the Academy Award for the Best Actor for his part as Homer Smith…a drifting handy man who’s car overheated in the Arizona heat and was drafted by five East German nuns to build what they called a “shapel” (chapel.)

Now, I’m not here to give movie reviews but I believe in God calling us when we are stranded along the road. I remember when I was stranded.

Not literally. But I was drifting.

I had injured myself at Indiana University in a gymnastics accident and lost my athletic scholarship.

 Shipwrecked and alone in a small Kentucky town, I had no direction. One minute I was a member of a Big Ten Gymnastics team…and in a flash, I was sweeping floors in a greasy gas station in Owensboro Kentucky. And God, finally had me where he wanted me. Broken, alone and humble. Then he showed up and said, “Okay…you’re ready!”

You have to be at the bottom when God calls you.

You might have all the money in the world and fame and fortune or have absolutely nothing…but you have to be at the bottom…broken, with a broken heart or… Jesus won’t take you otherwise…

He won’t take you if you are self sufficient and proud.

He won’t be able to use you like Homer Smith, until you give in…and give up…and just surrender.

At one point in the movie, a Mexican family donates a small truckload of bricks to help build the chapel.

 Homer is a lapsed Baptist and when this little East German Nun, who has prayed for these bricks greets the truck with joy that her prayer has been answered, Homer chides her and says, “These won’t be nearly enough!” The Mother Superior played by Lilia Skala, responds, “Oh…then we pray some more!”

Your purpose and calling is costly. THE CALLING OF GOD REQUIRES ONGOING CONSTANT PRAYER. You can’t get your first load of bricks and say, “Wow Lord, this isn’t enough!”

We must do the asking…He does the supplying… AND HE WATCHES TO SEE IF WE WILL KEEP ON BELIEVING!

Just because you are called doesn’t mean God is going to do everything! He requires YOU to do the praying, and the persevering and the confessing.

He will do the heavy lifting, but my friend, He won’t do the lifting unless He has a partner who is as committed to seeing the work done as He is! He just won’t!

There is someone reading this who is about to give up. Maybe you have already.

You had some success in your life, but you’ve hit a hard place…everything seems dark…you ‘re broken down on the side of the road like Homer Smith and your radiator needs water. In the moment when all seems lost…when everything you hoped for is slipping from between your fingers…

Your resurrection day is about to dawn!

God builds chapels with people like YOU…the reluctant ones, the ones who have to be pushed and prodded like Homer Smith to build that “Shapel”.

But I am not so sure that the reluctant ones aren’t God’s favorite children!

Because when you finally give in… He knows you really mean it!

When my radiator was empty, God called me to be an encourager. He called me for you…today.

Press on! That “Shapel” is going to materialize…but you need to get up and brush off your backside and just buck up and believe!

Keep going, keep praying, keep persevering.

One day soon, a small truckload of bricks will be coming down the road.

Elijah prayed for rain and all he got at first was a tiny cloud, the size of a man’s hand…but as he continued to pray, the drought that had been over the land for many years, was halted by the flood that God produced due to his perseverance.

Steaming radiators are a sign that you are ready to be used.

And God says, “Finally!”

Happy Easter…God resurrects the broken dreams of the heart.

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