The Honduran Michael Jackson

I never knew his real name; everyone in Quebrada Seca called him Michael Jackson. He was a black man, but the similarities ended there. Our MJ had very little in earthly possessions. He lived in a tiny makeshift shack by the river’s edge. Michael earned a few lempiras here and there, selling fruit from the basket of his rusty bicycle. I spoke with him only once, when I bought some lemons to make a pie; but I often spotted him around the neighborhood while we were on visitation. Several people in our church gave him food when they had some to spare. They themselves were poor, but Michael was painfully destitute.

I seldom thought of him, until that Sunday morning in late December. Robbie was preaching a Christmas message, when suddenly there was a loud explosion. It sounded like lightning striking a tree, but there were no clouds in the sky. Probably a transformer exploding, we assumed. Our city’s power grid is overloaded, and such explosions are frequent.

But heading home on the bus after service, our church people were met with a tragic sight. Hanging from a nearby power line was the charred body of Michael Jackson. A crowd gathered to watch as he was lowered to the ground. It was common knowledge that in order to earn extra money, he would charge about $10 to reconnect someone’s power after it had been cut due to unpaid bills. He worked bajo, bajo (illegally) in this dangerous work until he grabbed the wrong cable, instantly snuffing out his life.

Faces pressed against the glass, unable to look away, we were sobered by thoughts of death. A man unexpectedly entered eternity. We had tried to meet his physical needs, but what did we do for his soul?

The world lost two Michael Jacksons last year. One lived in a mansion, one in a shack. One was sheltered by scarves and umbrellas, the other burnt by the sun. One sold platinum albums, one sold fruit. One had unmatched fame, the other an unmarked grave. Both are now in eternity, their lives on earth a haunting memory.

Is one any better off than the other?

For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. –James 4:14

Did you encounter someone today whose life is empty? Rich or poor, educated or ignorant, powerful or weak, they have the same need. Show them Jesus Christ.

Don't forget to submit your question by the end of this month in order to participate in the drawing for a Honduran coffee gift basket! Is there something you would like to know about life on the mission field? Ask me this week!
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2 Responses
  1. Kathy Says:

    Wow! Powerful, though-provoking blog. My toes hurt. You wrapped it into a tight challenge at the end...for us all!

  2. Ricky Says:

    It is interesting to note how backwards we seem to see things. Over and over the Bible warns us about taking the world's viewpoint as the real one, but still we have a hard time shaking loose from its hold on us. Life is a vapor and those of us nearing the end of that time should more than ever be focused on facing the Lord with more than a left behind bank account or insurance policy. Thanks for the reminder.



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