Just Passing Through

Just Passing Through
On my way to band practice at church last Thursday, I saw a vehicle with its flashers on.
Instinctively, I pulled over and asked if the motorist needed help. Apparently the clutch went out on his car, and to top it off, his cellphone didn’t work! So I let him use mine. He wasn’t able to get a hold of someone to help, and since he was on his way to work, he asked if it wasn’t too much trouble if I could drop him off.
 
“Absolutely,” I said. 
 
During our brief drive I got acquainted with him a little more. He was effusively thankful that I took him to work, even though I was supposed to be at band practice. He apologized that he caused me to miss my appointment.
 
“You are more important than that,” I shared. “God has been good to me. And so I just want to show that love to other people.”
 
As I chatted with this man, I discovered he was a Muslim. I briefly shared with him how I came to know Jesus (Isa is what Muslims call Him) and why I know I’m going to heaven not based on anything good I have done, but because of what He did for me. 
 
We did not argue theologically at all. He just listened to me share, and then he shared a bit about his beliefs, and about his job. And by that time, I dropped him off at his workplace and he thanked me again. 
 
“I want to let you know I love you, and may God bless you.” I added, as I shook his hand. “Call me if you need any more help.”
 
“Allah bless you, my new friend said, “and may he repay your kindness to me.”
 
This man did not have three heads. He did not cry “Allahu Akbar” and try to chop off my head. And yes, as a Christian, I do not agree with the teachings of Islam, since they do not acknowledge the deity and salvation of Jesus Christ. True, there may be a day–following the current trend–when America could become a Muslim nation. I’m not clueless about that. And of course we as American citizens should be able to protect ourselves at the moment where our loved ones lives may be in danger.
 
But how will I see these people today?
Middle Eastern man walking, public domain photo

Middle Eastern man walking, public domain photo

 
Will I see people different from me as a group first to fear and then to hate, or will I see them as people just like me…people who need the Lord?
Many Muslims are born into their religion, not knowing anything different. They want to have some assurance of heaven or paradise, like most people do, and they are taught that the only way they can possibly get that is through a lifetime of good works, or instantly through a martyr’s death. By contrast, Christians depend on the certainty of righteousness, given as a gift through faith in Jesus Christ, by His completed work on the cross.
The truth is, Muslims, like the rest of the lost world, are in the dark and need the light shined on them.
 
Recently, a guy I was chatting with mentioned how he was listening to a talk show that was talking about Muslims taking over our country, and he is prepared to get a gun and start taking them down.
 
Really?
 
You have to be careful what you listen to. 
 
American Flag, public domain photo

American Flag, public domain photo

 
As a Christian, I am not in the business of trying to save America. I’m trying to save–or rather let Christ in me–save people who live in America.
If America as we know it goes down, it is not the end of the world.
In the Bible, you don’t read Paul admonishing the Christians in Rome to rebel against the tyranny of Caesar, to look up to Rome as a shining city on a hill, or to keep the Empire from being overrun by pagan barbarians. No, he said pay your taxes, fear God, honor the king. Christians can lose their purpose and weary themselves out in trying to prop up a decaying system and culture. The culture will always be threatened by outside forces, often beyond our control. But regardless of the culture, people can always be reached.
 
All I know is I loved this man. Moments before, I was listening to a sermon on the radio, where the preacher said you don’t have to necessarily feel love. You can just intentionally choose to love. I asked God to help me with that. A moment later, He gave me an opportunity. And I believe, by faith, Jesus loved him through me.
 
He is not one of “them.”
 
He is a human being, created in the image of God, and should have every opportunity to be saved, just as I am, by God’s grace. He should be the recipient of mercy and love, just as all of us are.
 
And who can say that God hasn’t allowed Muslims to live in this country, even the large influx of recent refugees, so that the Christians in this land would reach out to them and share who Jesus is?
 
Please pray for this man to come to know Jesus. From what I understood in our brief conversation, there are others reaching out to him as well. 
 
"Passing Through," 15" x 30", Acrylic on Hardboard, by Matt Philleo

“Passing Through,” 15″ x 30″, Acrylic on Hardboard, by Matt Philleo

 
In the end, America is not my home. I’m on my way to a better country.
That’s what this painting, “Passing Through,” illustrates. I created this back in 2004, depicting a man who is obviously out of place, riding on a camel through a Midwestern town. If you are a Christian, you are just passing through this world as a traveler, on your way to your permanent residence in heaven!
 
I thank God for all the blessings I have in this country, but if every one were stripped away, I would still have my relationship with Christ, and that would be more than enough. And I want to others to enjoy that relationship with him too, whether they be called Catholic, Protestant, Jew, atheist, Buddhist or Muslim.

Share Your Thoughts!

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave me your feedback below! I will personally get back to you. Can you help me spread the word? Please share this post with your family and friends by using the social media links on the side or below. Thank you!
 
 
 

"I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands."

Inscribed6a_500px

"Inscribed," Pencil on Paper, by Matt Philleo

One day, when I was discouraged I read a verse in the Bible, in Isaiah, 49:15-16, where it says, "Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands." This verse brought such encouragement, that I created this original work of art to share the incredible love of God with others, including you!


Get a free 8 x 10 copy of this drawing that you can use to print, share, or as wallpaper!

I will never send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Related posts:

8 Comments

  1. Hi Matt! Interesting little story here. I was wondering; in an event like this, do you share your blog information with them, hand them your business card, or give them your website? If you don’t, I think you should! Your talent is God-given, and with the story that you tell through your art, I’m of the opinion that later, a man such as this, might just look you up and get out of your art what others do. Maybe your art could speak to him in a way that words didn’t, or keep you in his mind as someone who truly does care about people. I think your light would further shine if you do this. I know in my own experience, I often share my business card with others, and always invite them to call if they need to talk, or to look me up on my Etsy site. I find it rewarding, knowing that I did all I could do at the time, and giving them a way to contact me in the future. Just a thought!

    Reply
    • Matt Philleo

      Hi Donna, thanks for your feedback as always. Yes, I actually gave that gentleman my art business card at the end of our conversation. This particular card has an image of “Crowns at His Feet” depicting a man presenting crowns at the feet of Jesus. He took it graciously although he seemed, by his body language, to not quite agree with my my portrayal of Jesus…which is totally OK. We left on very good terms. He did mention someone else gave him something just recently that had an image like that or concept like that depicted. Well, we know God is working on people all the time. Including us!

      Reply
  2. As I read this post, I was reminded of words of a song, last copyrighted in 1965 I think. Hope it’s OK to quote a bit: This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue; the angels beckon me from heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore… They’re all expecting me… My Savior pardoned me and now I onward go…I know He’ll take me through…we’ll live eternally, the saints on every hand are shouting victory.
    My own post script: My dear Clarence passed to his eternal home a year and a half ago and I look forward to seeing him and hearing his “victory shout”.

    Reply
    • Matt Philleo

      Hi Deetje, thanks for sharing this. I knew vaguely that there was a song that correlated with the title of my painting, but didn’t know all the words to it, or even the tune for that matter. But wonderful that the song gives you encouragement, and yes, keep holding onto Jesus and look forward to seeing all your lost loved ones that died trusting in Him, especially your beloved husband. In that same way, I look forward to seeing my dad who passed away in 2010 to cancer. Sometimes I have dreams that I’m talking with him like he never died, and I wake up with a great feeling. I have confidence that he was a true believer and I will see him again!

      Reply
  3. Thank you Matt for your simple but thought provoking story. This is especially meaningful given the trumpeting of hate, disrespect, fear and otherness that has been and continues to be spewed on an almost daily basis. It is unnerving to realize how much damage can be done when hate and fear are unleashed. Keep up your good work and the sharing of your talent, it is a calming influence for anyone who takes the time to read and look.

    Reply
  4. Good story, Matt. You covered almost every angle of thinking! We each need to reach out to everyone – person to person. As you did. Our God is far greater than we give Him credit for. This is the commandment that He gave His believers: ” Make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:19. ALL NATIONS!! He is the creator of each one of us. And, He LOVES each one of us. Regardless of our current beliefs or nationality. We, His children, are to do as our Father does ….. as He leads and directs us.

    (not sure which mom you are referring to but, I do qualify!!!)

    Reply
    • Matt Philleo

      Thanks, Mom! There will be a lot of variety in heaven, and I’m looking forward to worshiping Jesus with people of many different colors, nations, and personalities! We will retain our uniqueness, and yet be completely unified in Christ…amazing!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons