For eight years before his death from brain cancer, Josh Monk influenced hundreds of people in the Kansas City area.
The Sunday School class he taught grew from a handful to an average of 80 in attendance. One Easter Sunday, well over 100 in the class ringed the church’s gym for a circle of prayers.
I told some men this past Sunday that Maywood Baptist Church is currently what it is because of God’s work through Josh.
Josh taught me about how to love enemies. He knew what Jesus said about loving enemies.
Jesus said, “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
“Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
“If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.
“Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6.27-31).
Teaching by Example
People close to Josh learned from him through the way he conducted his life.
Like many men who have been incarcerated, Josh had to overcome racism. I recall two occasions when he went out of his way to be of service to black men.
By doing so, he was imitating Jesus’ teaching. Jesus taught that we should treat all people as if they were part of our family or close friends.
I have written in another article about a time when Josh stopped an African American man with no shoes, who was walking on 24 Highway. Josh gave him the new basketball shoes that he was wearing and had to go home to get another pair for himself.
On another occasion, an African American man and woman had car trouble on 40 Highway near Lee’s Summit Road. It was dark and I expect that they might have been frightened to see Josh come up to their car.
He was able to get them help from a nearby Quick Trip and left them impressed by Josh’s kindness.
“I Can’t Disrespect Jesus.”
One of my most memorable experiences with Josh was the time when we were riding in my truck. He was as conflicted as I had ever seen him.
He never told me the issue that had him so disturbed. Whatever it was, it was very painful.
He said, “I can fix it.” By that, I thought he was referring going back to his old violent ways.
Then he said, “But I can’t disrespect Jesus.”
I don’t know the end of the story, but I believe he did the right thing and dealt with his enemy the way Jesus would.
A Jesus Pass
Like many people I know, Josh didn’t like being disrespected.
When people said something that didn’t sit right with him, he’d pull out an imaginary pad from his shirt pocket.
He’d say to the offending person as he handed them an imaginary slip of paper, “You just got a Jesus pass.”
What Was Josh’s Secret?
Josh had many winsome attributes. Once he became a follower of Jesus, he had many friends who still remember him fondly and grieve over his death.
He was an exceptional Bible study teacher. He was able to express God’s love to his enemies in a very genuine way.
How did he do it?
Josh once referred to a very godly and kind school teacher and said, “If she doesn’t spend time with Jesus, she might get mad and say ‘damn.’
“If I don’t spend time with Jesus, someone’s going to get hurt and I’m going back to prison.”
Josh spent a lot of time with Jesus. He began his day with an hour of prayer and Bible reading. He and his wife ended their day in Bible reading.
At one time, Josh was a loyal member of a motorcycle club. When he began to follow Jesus, he became a loyal and obedient follower of the Savior.
Prayer + Bible Reading + Obedience = a life that God was able to use.
If we want to follow Jesus’ teaching about loving our enemies, we will do well to do what Josh did. After all, he learned it from Jesus.
Rudy Ross gave me the idea of writing about Josh Monk. When we recorded the video for today, Rudy brought up Josh. Both of us tell stories about how he impacted our lives. The video can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.