Riding my bike in my sunny hometown, I encountered a man at the grocery store who was picking through the used cigarettes in the butt bin outside the door. I nearly ran into him because I was walking with my eyes down, putting my purchase in my back pack. As I walked past him, I couldn’t help but feel the heart of God for him, and that still small voice in my soul telling me to help him. I pulled my backpack to the front of me and fidgeted for my wallet.
Doubt crept an icy hand onto my soul, and I hesitated… “What if something bad happens?”
So, I strapped my helmet on and rode away. I hadn’t gotten very far when I felt the Spirit of God all over me, and I began to ask myself why I had let that moment get away. I told God I was sorry, and rode the last few blocks home. But, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I should have done something.
“What could’ve happened? What if I would have been able to share Jesus with this man, and I just missed it? Am I really so afraid of the people there or of this man that I just didn’t do anything?” Well, I couldn’t stand it, so I grabbed some cash, the dog, jumped in the car and headed back to the store, hoping I would find him still there. As I drove, I thought, “isn’t this the point of being a Christian? This is what we are made for…otherwise our faith is dead and useless, right? …But, God, what do I say when I see him?”
I figured Holy Spirit would give me the words, and I nervously pulled into the parking lot, hoping to see him there. And indeed, thank God, he was there.
I sat in my car for a moment…”What DO I say?”
He saw me coming… “Hey, man,” I said (very holy indeed…lol.). “Do you need something?”
“What? Oh, no. No.”
“Are you thirsty?” I asked. He held up his coffee cup, which I am assuming he found in the trash too…
“I have coffee.”
“Do you want a burrito or something?” He looked up at me with dirty teeth and a smoke stained mustache-“yes.”
As quickly as I could I grabbed a huge bottle of water (its 80 out today), almonds, two apples and two fried chicken breasts. In that time, he had come inside and taken a seat in the deli. He waved at me as I walked past to purchase the items.
Returning to him, I thought to myself, “What do I say now? I guess ‘God Bless’, right?” Well, as I was setting the food down in front of him, he beat me to the punch, saying, “God bless you.”
I didn’t make eye contact with him- honestly, I was uncomfortable and didn’t know what to say back.
As I looked up at him, he said something to me in his unsteady voice that I will never forget.
“No, really. God bless you. It’s not what you do for God, it’s what He does for you. It’s not your love for God that saves you, its God’s love for you. Thank you. God bless you.”
Then he reached out his hand and I gave him mine, and we shook on it. As I walked back to my car with tears in my eyes, I realized I was the one blessed in this whole encounter. I felt the sweet release of God’s hand on me, knowing that I had done what He asked of me.
Don’t be afraid to step out when God speaks to you about something He wants you to do. You may think it’s for another person’s benefit, or that you are extending the hand of God to someone, which you will be, but you may just find that YOU, like me, are the one who is changed.
So, my darlings, be powerful today and remember this-
Matthew 25:34 (paraphrase) “… ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink…Then the righteous will answer Him saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?…And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”