Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Never a Day Off - A Story of Reluctant Service.
By the end of our day, we were both running much later than we had hoped and were on opposite ends of town. Frustrated, late, tired, and just generally not in very good moods, we ended up taking separate vehicles home. Since we had to meet in the middle anyway, we decided it might be nice to spend a little time hanging out together and unwinding before heading home. After 30 minutes of fighting traffic and construction delays, I was finally strolling through the goodwill on South Broadway with my
wife, laughing, shopping, and just trying to forget about a really tough day.
We decided we would have dinner after we shopped and then head home, and then it happened. You know, IT, a ministry opportunity intruded on a perfectly fine attempt to escape from life for a while. I am still not sure what tipped this guy off, I mean I am in a Goodwill store with at least fifty other shoppers. I am not wearing my Vest with the Christian patches and Pastor tag, I am not even wearing a Christian t-shirt. I am just standing in the kids clothing isle looking for a sweatshirt for my son, when this guy comes up and asks if I can help him buy a pair of shoes. You see, he just gotten out of jail, and they lost his shoes and just gave him a pair they had laying around the jail, and they did not fit him.
How many of you have this happen on a regular basis? "Hi, you are an unusually large guy with a large mustache and pony tail, I bet you would like to hear about my troubles and may even help me out." I mean who does that? Well, other than this guy, right. Anyway, my initial response was to keep looking through the coats and in my head yell at God "Not now, not after the day I had, can't I even have one quiet night with my wife without having to help someone?" And then he asked again, it was clear that he was not going anywhere, so I agreed to help him find a pair of shoes. We looked through the small selection of used shoes and found a nice pair of white Nikes. I asked him if he had any money and he said he had a little, in fact, with the weekly discounts, he was able to get the shoes without help from me.
As we were leaving the store, I invited him to come next door with my wife and I and have dinner. We bought him a burrito to go, and he asked if we could give him a ride about a half a mile up the road. On the way, he told me that he was a believer who had fallen on hard times, and was arrested for public intoxication. He also said "you're not going to believe this, but I prayed for help, and God told me to talk to you." I looked at him, and with a smile said, "I believe it, it happens more than you might think". We prayed together, and I gave him my card before he left.
As I drove away, I quietly repented of my attitude and hypocrisy. I was spending money on luxuries, yes, when a person has no shoes, two pairs are a luxury. I had a tough day at work, but I had a job. I just wanted time alone with my wife, but at least I had a wife, and a family, and a place to live. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that those who have nice things should feel guilty about what they have, but I know in my own heart, that I often don't appreciate what I have until I meet someone who does not have. And I really do believe God told him to come see me, not sure how else you explain just how often this sort of thing happens.