A couple of weeks ago I was meeting my friend in Birmingham for dinner. I arrived to the car park early, parking my car and sitting for a while, when I noticed in my review mirror a homeless man with a foam cup asking the occasional pedestrian for some money. When no one was around, and he had no idea I was watching, I saw him limping and shivering.
Closer to the time it was to meet my friend, I got out the car and walked past this man myself. He politely asked if I could please spare some change. I didn’t have any cash on me and offered to buy him a meal instead. He gratefully accepted. “What would you like?” I asked. “Something hot”, he replied. Unfamiliar with the area I asked him what was nearby. He gestured towards some shops across the road. “What about this Italian restaurant right here?I’m about to go to for dinner there”, I suggested. “Ahh no, that’s far too expensive”, he responded shaking his head.
I felt prompted to not just to pay for a £1 Gregg’s sausage roll, but to actually give him something that he deserved. Jesus never loved people in halves and crumbs. Jesus was “extra” in his loving.
“Perfect then! You deserve it! Italian it is!”, I told him. Blown away at the thought of some hot lasagne from an actual restaurant, we entered. I told him to order whatever he wanted off the menu.
As he waited for his hot chocolate, lasagna, and doughnuts, unprovoked he began talking about how he had been slowly coming off of alcohol, his childhood, and experiences with God. By now my friend had arrived.
He said that he never liked to hug people because of the state he was in. We gave him a big hug and his parting words to us were, “thanks for making me feel human again”.
As he walked out the door with his bag of food, he gave me a small token of appreciation, all he had in his foam cup – a Starburst sweet.
That sweet sits on my desk today as a reminder, that God is always opening doors for us to partner with him. My job that evening wasn’t necessarily to get him to church or convert him, it was simply to love him. I may be one of the many people in a network that God uses to get Chris where He wants him to be.
I tell this story to encourage you to be open to any opportunities to love people. The opportunities will surely come in unexpected moments, perhaps even at inconvenient times, and in mundane ways. Be open, be aware, and be ready!
People cannot argue with the love of God. The love of God cannot fail (1 Corinthians 13:8).
A daily devotion for a better way of living.