Had the privilege this past week to visit the Dallas Ft. Worth area and spend a few days w/ some amazing folks. However, my trip started a little differently than I expected…
This year my wife and I decided to head out to TX a day early and enjoy some down time and of course some good ole’ Texas BBQ! Our day started off early driving to the airport, going through security and of course the flight out. I mention the flight because to say it mildly, my wife does not like to fly… especially being prego. It is exhausting for her so by the time we made it to the hotel we were ready for lunch. We decided to join another couple and started off on our 6 block trek to the BBQ place.
A block into our journey was when God presented me w/ an opportunity…
A homeless man, Chuckee was his name, approached me and you know what for…money. The reason he gave was because he was hungry…
Here lies the choice, the opportunity… to love or not love moment… seconds to decide… potential eternity to impact.
I chose to love, but to do so wisely…let me share.
1st: I chose to listen…
I believe the Holy Spirit prompted me to listen to him. God does not always do that w/ everyone I walk by. I can not fully explain why, but I know He wanted me to stop.
I also know that God wants to use me to meet the needs of others. Many have said it, “God has blessed me so that I may be a blessing to others.”
I know much of the Scripture leads us to meet the needs of those that are in need.
2nd: I chose to obey…(which truly is an indicator that we “really” heard)
There it was, a choice to be made. I chose to put into practice that which I knew to be “true”.
3rd: I chose to not give him money…but meet his professed need and to reveal the greater need.
Chuckee said he was hungry, so I said to him, “we are going up to get BBQ, I would love to buy you a sandwich if you are willing to walk with me.” Chuckee agreed and we were on our way…
Along our walk I talked to him about life…you know, the typical things you and I do (were more similar than you think). I asked him where he was from, how long he had been in TX, about his family, where he stayed, etc. In turn, he asked me questions as well.
As our conversation grew, he asked me what I did…which is always the “oh boy, here we go moment”. I told him I was a pastor and the conversation stalled for a few seconds and then he said, “I’m not really religious so I really don’t know much about that stuff”, which I promptly replied, “I don’t either”…yes, he laughed. I told him my story about not growing up in a Christian home and he said, “well ain’t that kind of ironic”… I said, “now that you mention it, I guess it is”. From that point on I told the man that God can meet us where ever we are, whoever we are, whatever we have done and then explained the gospel. This was his reply,
“because you have shown me kindness I will listen to what you have to say…”
About that time we were nearing the restaurant and he said, “I don’t want to be rude, but do you mind if I get mine to go?”, which I replied “absolutely, but you are more than welcome to eat with us.”
Once inside, my wife and our friends got a table and I stood at the bar with him. I asked the ladies if I could make an order and they kindly asked what we wanted. They offered sandwiches or platters, which Chuckee replied, “whatever is the cheapest”, which I replied, “no man, you get what you want”. This went on for minutes until he was all ordered up with drink and the works. I paid and Chuckee said over and over again, “thank you”. Then he said these words…
“most people just walk by me as I don’t exist…I know I’m nobody…”
This is where, I cut him off and reminded him of the gospel and that there is a God that thinks he is way more than a nobody. I asked him if I could pray for him and he said, “I would love it if you would…” An amazing hush fell over the bar as I prayed for a man that I did not know 15 min before and probably will never meet again this side of heaven…it was a amazing time of worship.
I wish I could say “Chuckee placed faith in Jesus”, but I can’t.
However here is what I do know:
– I chose to “be” what I profess I “am”
– I chose to view a person through the lens of Jesus
– I chose to love by kindness demonstrated
– I chose to offer a man the only hope of the world, the gospel
– I chose to overcome my selfish desires, “hunger, tiredness, selfishness, etc” by the power of the Spirit that is within me
– Chuckee clearly heard the gospel and how faith in Christ makes us right before God
– I don’t save people, God does. He convicts, reveals, draws and saves, I don’t.
– My privilege (some would say “job”) is to present the hope that is within me
– I trust God to do what will bring Himself glory
– I am surrounded by people, which means I am surrounded by opportunities to present the hope that is within me, Christ!
You see, for $10, 20min, and a BBQ sandwich God trusted me to tell a man the hope of the world…
money well spent if you ask me…
What/ who has God trusted you with?
I hear a little change in your pocket and time still left on the clock…