“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,..”The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” – Mathew 25:35-40
Several months back, I had stopped and pulled into a convenience store to pick up a money order and a bottled water. She entered the store and asked the clerk behind the counter, “have you got anything for me today?”. He responded in a firm tone, “No, and I told you you’re gonna have to stop coming in here…you’re gonna get me fired!” My first thought was..hmm, looks and sounds like possible drug dealings.
She left the store and I asked the clerk what that was all about. He proceeded to tell me that she comes in several times a week asking for handouts of any kind. He continued, “I’ve told her she needs to get a job!” I must confess that it was my first initial thought as well. I know there are countless people who actually panhandle as an organized means for income as portrayed in many documentaries I’ve seen. But as Christians, we always need to be careful as not to miss an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with those He allows across our pathway…I was about to get that chance.
I exited the store and there she sat, in nearest enough proximity that I needed to walk past her to get into my truck. Upon my appearance, she immediately began to ask me if I could help her. She told me she had been living on the streets for many months and that no one wanted to give her a chance in regards to hiring her for a job due to her looks. She was adorned with tattoos, unkempt hair, etc. I asked her about her family and she told me that none of them lived nearby and how many had given up on her. I asked her had she checked to see if there were any local missions or churches that could help her and she told me that they told her they had exhausted all means of benevolence funding available in the way of food and shelter.
She begin to cry and told me that she was a good person and that no one wanted to give her a chance. My heart went out to her as I listened to her story and silently asked the Lord for wisdom and guidance in her situation. I asked her if she knew Jesus to which she replied, “oh yes, I’m a Christian and I believe and how she has prayed asking God to help her to get back on her feet”. I asked her if I could pray with here and she immediately responded with “oh yes…would you please”. I told her that God loves her and wants to help her more that she knows and that it is not His desire for her to be living on the streets. How He has good things in store for her and how He wants to prosper her in every area of her life. (see Jeremiah 29:11) I took her hands and prayed over her as the Holy Spirit provided the words to speak over her. I was only the yielding vessel He would work through to remind her that He loved her.
I reached into my wallet and gave her the cash I had on me and before releasing it into her grasp, I told her this was a gift from Jesus and it was to be used for food. She responded with an immediate “oh, yes sir”. I also reached into my truck and had two apples and offered them to her as well which she graciously accepted. I hugged her and and told her God loves her more than she knows and that I did too with the love of Jesus. She thanked me and we parted paths. When I drove off, I prayed once again for God to move mightily in her life and remind her in each day that followed that He would continue to reveal His love to her and that He would place others in her pathway He would use to reveal that love.
I share this story not to boast in any one thing that I have done but give glory and honor to Jesus for giving me the opportunity to share His love with this woman. My friend, its so easy to become judge, jury, and critic to others we encounter throughout life. As we look on the exterior lives of others, may we always know and recognize potential opportunities to share God’s love to the broken, hurting, lost and dying world around us. For we ourselves were once lost and in need of a Savior until someone else took the time to share His love with us.
“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” ( I Corinthians 13:1-7, The Message)
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