Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

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April 3, 2021: Make Us Clean

“‘Take away the filthy garments from him.’ And to him He said, ‘See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes’” (Zech. 3:4, NKJV).

Dressed in very humble clothes, rather ragged, with a tanned complexion and a wrinkled face, the poor, old man approached all those who parked on the church’s street, offering to watch their cars for a few coins. His destitute condition and his tired appearance betrayed the difficult life he lived.

After several days visiting the new church that I was to pastor, I realized that this man was always willing to offer up his service. I was surprised to learn that every Sabbath for years this man had been helping members, but no one had ever invited him into the church or to study the Bible. Some leaders and I agreed we would not allow this man to take care of our cars outside of the church one more Sabbath while we worshipped God inside.

The following Sabbath, we invited him into the church. It was exciting to see the gratitude on his face, knowing that we saw him as part of our church family. We offered him Bible studies and tended to his basic needs. Finally, he gave his heart to Christ through baptism.

That Sabbath was a truly joyous one. Transformed internally and externally, he wore a simple but very clean suit, stripped of his vile robes and now wearing nice garments.

I will never forget this kind, old man and the lesson he taught me. Regardless of our condition, how bad, how vile, how dirty we are, the Lord comes and says, “Take off those filthy garments and put on rich robes.”

God, we are dirty. Please make us clean. Amen.

Peter M. Simpson is the coordinator of Hispanic Ministries and director of Global Mission for the Ohio Conference.