Story - Matt P. - as told to Holly Poole.
The following is a story about one man's obedience - but it isn't Matt's.
On Thursday May 19th, Matt was doing a pressure washing job in Denham Springs. After the job, he drove around looking for another job that he could do that day. As he passed through a neighborhood, he saw an older man attempting to pressure wash his own driveway. Matt stopped, got out the car and asked the guy if he needed help. The man agreed, and they came to an agreement for payment.
Afterwards, the man began adding jobs for Matt to do, even giving specific details on how Matt should do the jobs. The man was beginning to aggravate Matt. After the job, He told Matt that he was thankful that he had stopped by because he was having back issues - which made yard work difficult. Despite his hesitations, Matt then asked if he could pray him. The man said matter-of-factly that he knew how all Christians were because he had seen them in his own family, and he saw how prayer didn’t work before. Matt felt a lot of faith for the man, even though the man was really aggravating him. Matt told him that he had nothing to lose. He agreed and Matt proceeded to pray for quite a while with the man. Afterward, they stopped to check if his back was healed— which it was!
The man then revealed to Matt that he wanted to give his life to God. Together they prayed the prayer of salvation there in the man's driveway. The man was obviously emotional after this experience but wasn't crying. Matt could tell that he was touched.
About a week and a half later, on the 27th, Matt called to check on the man. Surprisingly, he found out that the man had passed away on the 25th - just 6 days after his encounter with Matt. Unknown to Matt, the man was battling with terminal lung cancer. The man (his name was Dennis) gave his life to Christ just days before his death.
As I sit with Matt now, discussing the whole experience, Matt explains that as he left the man’s house on the 19th, he felt that he shouldn't call him right away. However, when he found out that the man had died, he felt torn about what happened - the fact that he didn't follow-up with Mr. Dennis, because people aren’t meant to be sick and he knew that if had called him, he would have prayed for complete healing. However, Matt knows that God had a reason for why he didn’t call him sooner.
This past Sunday morning, Matt taught in Harbor Kid’s Church. He was able to contribute his story to their lessons of obedience which they've been covering for the past 12 weeks. The children are learning about hearing the voice of God—which voices are God’s and which aren’t. They've been talking about words of knowledge, dreams, and obeying God to share what they hear. This Sunday, Matt gave his story to the kids and tagged along a message of the power of obedience: how our obedience increases the faith of others through healing and opens doors to discuss salvation.
He explains to me, “When we obey and put ourselves in a vulnerable situation, God shows up and our faith is also increased. And it’s awesome that our kids are actually getting that—they’re understanding it.” Matt said that he has been on a journey of obedience for the past 2 years and this was just the next chapter for that.
It’s important to note that our obedience is fully about God and furthering His kingdom. It’s because of Matt's obedience that Mr. Dennis had this specific encounter, but his salvation ultimately came from God. If there is anything that Matt has stressed most in this interview, it is that his story - and anyone else's testimony - should ultimately highlight the goodness of God rather than our own works.
Jesus gives us this beautiful example in John as He hung on the cross:
I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
And in Romans, Paul explains:
For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.
That's it: our obedience glorifies God and introduces others to Christ.