Thursday, September 6, 2001
Maybe it's because my father-in-law was a corrections officer for a while, and I've heard his stories about the wasted lives behind prison bars. But whatever the reason I've always admired the men who minister as prison Chaplains. It's tough ministry but it's ministry where it's desperately needed. I've got a new friend, Bill, and he works as a prison Chaplain and he recently told me about an incident that touched me when he told me and it continues to touch me. Bill had been visiting this cell block and he went out in the exercise yard for some fresh air, he said. There was this clean cut, young inmate who walked up to him and said, "Hey mister! Are you broke?" Well, Bill kinda' fished around in his pocket and didn't find any money in there and the inmate said, "It doesn't matter, your money is no good in here anyway. Are you broke?" Only this time the inmate had tears in his eyes. And then here's what he said, "Mister, don't try to minister to people in here if you ain't broke, cause we all are." Now, that's not just inside prison walls.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "Knowing What it is to be 'Broke.'"
You don't have to go into a prison to find people who are, in the words of that inmate, "broke." There's so much pain today, and so much of it is from broken things - broken family, broken health, broken heart, broken dream, broken relationships, broken trust - you may be "broke." Perhaps, even in spite of a life that's reasonably successful and an outward image that looks fine. You may be one of the millions of the walking wounded ... not sure where to put your pain...where to put your brokenness.
Our word for today from the Word of God, Hebrews 4:14 says this, "Since we have a great high priest who has gone through the Heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess." Now, here Jesus is called "high priest" and you know those were the men in the Old Testament who represented people to God. So Jesus is now our personal representative with God in Heaven.
Now, if that inmate, or even you, were to walk up to this Savior and ask, "Are you broke?" He might refer you to the next verse, verse 15. Here's what it says, "We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of Grace with confidence." Now, He's walked in our shoes, He's felt what we feel except He never responded by doing something outside of God's will. And we can come to Him with confidence. Why? Well, we're coming to a Savior who has lived the feelings we are bringing to Him. He knows what it is to be poor. He knows what it feels like to be turned on by your family...to be betrayed by someone very close--He was. To be rejected--He was. To be pressured to do the wrong thing - He was. To be tortured ... to be lonely ... to be murdered - He was all of those. This Savior knows the pain.
There are other people who can empathize. There are some counselors who can help you understand the pain, but only Jesus can carry your pain and begin to heal a lifetime of scars. He says, "I came to bind up the broken hearted." But the great tragedy may be this. You're needlessly carrying all your hurt alone because this Savior isn't your Savior because you've never given yourself to Him. He went way beyond the pain to the core reason for our wounds - human sin.