May 20, 2013
My day started at 5:30am Sunday morning. I remember that I prayed that I would surrender the day to God and that He would show me what He wanted to show me and that I would hear what He wanted me to hear. That day I had committed to helping my sister with some things that she needed to get done. My plan was that I wanted to go to church at some point that morning. I thought, “We are starting early enough that I should still be able to make it to church”. As we started the day, I took out a devotional book I had brought with me. I started the day reading a passage aloud. My sister and I discussed the words that were read and I let them marinate as I continued to mentally start the day.
As we were going about doing the tasks that needed to get done, we stopped at Starbucks for a little assistance. I noticed a man off in the corner that obviously was homeless. He was not speaking to anyone but he was leaning on a newspaper dispenser almost as if he needed it to hold himself up. He would move now and then, almost as if he was uncomfortable or in pain. The Holy Spirit almost immediately began to speak to me. Those of you who have kids or those who are young enough to remember the times your mother called you or you have called to your children and they pretend they do not hear you? My youngest sister has a three-year-old and when they are that young they not only pretend they can’t hear you but they are standing just a few feet away from you! When they are teenagers they get more sophisticated and will be in another room and although you are screaming at the top of your lungs and when you finally go into their room and you say, “Didn’t you hear me calling you?” They will look at you with a straight innocent face and say, “No”. You and I know that is not true but you can’t really prove it so you just walk away shaking your head. But it is a universal behavior and adults are capable of the same. What we are all saying with our behavior is, “you are going to ask something of me that I do not want to do.” So needless to say I did not respond immediately. After I got my beverage and we were walking out to the car, he was still there and the Holy Spirit was still speaking to me. I told my sister that I noticed him and that I am feeling that I should see if I can buy him something to eat. My sister responded with let’s ask him what his need is. When we went up to him, he said he needed 15 more cents. We were both taken a back that all he was asking for was 15 cents. He could have said can you spare any money or can you buy me something to eat? We continued to ask him was he sure that is all he wanted? He had a specific need and he did not ask for anything else. Now by looking at him he obviously needed more than 15 cents but as he held out his worn aged hands that had one wrinkled dollar and the other hand had some change, barely looking us in the eye he mumbled that is all he needed. By looking at his teeth, he needed to see a dentist; by looking at his hair, he needed it washed ; by looking at his clothes, he needed new fresh clothing ; by looking at his body he needed a bath but yet he was only asking for 15 cents to buy a cup of coffee. My sister gave him more than what he was asking for but what a humble, convicting lesson for me.
How often do “we” desire and ask for more than we need? Or take advantage of a mistake someone has made and walk away with more than we should have? God promises to supply all our needs, Matthew 6:25-26. He finds joy in blessing the faithful and obedient with more than they need, Psalm 31:19. We often sit in our homes and dream of a bigger one. We ride in our cars and dream of a nicer one. We are constantly looking “beyond” our needs. Yet God used this disheveled homeless man to teach me something. You know what else? In God’s eyes outwardly we all look the same. Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” God designed us to be a reflection of His image. So when God looks at me and God looks at that homeless man, He does not see one human being more worthy than the other. Christ died on the cross for ALL of our sins and He can use the person that our society deems less than to teach us lessons so that God can be glorified.
Which brings me to the second lesson. How often do we thank we are not good enough for God to use us? How often do we say, I pray that God brings someone into that person’s life to help him or her” …What about you? What about me? Sometime we are the part that God uses so that He can be glorified (meaning we are not even aware God used us in someone’s life) and sometimes He wants us to be the driving force (a conscious effort, an intentional act) so that He can be glorified.
Well, the day went on and I never made it to church but church doesn’t only have to happen in a physical building, at least it didn’t for me that day. God used a homeless man for me to pay attention to certain behaviors that I may be doing in my life. That is, most of us have the basics of what we need but we desire more for our own pleasures. Let us stop and ask ourselves once in awhile “Is this really necessary?” I am not saying we should all shop at Good Will or buy used cars or live in small houses, I just think we get caught up in “stuff” sometimes and we begin to lose sight of what we really need to be content. He also used a homeless man to remind me that we are all made in His image and He will use every bit of His creation to speak to me if He has something he wants me to hear. It is my choice whether I pay attention or pretend I don’t hear Him. How about you, what are you choosing? How are you designing your life to make a difference in someone else’s life?
All my best,