Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In His Steps

He stops at the corner and rests. Obviously trying to catch his breath. I know he's been walking quite some distance to have already made it to the end of my road. Usually we see him under the overpass. He must have gotten up earlier than usual this morning. He looks up at us and waves, just as he does every morning he sees us. We wave back, just as we do every time we see him. The way the sun is coming through the trees and shining down behind him, he almost looks like an angel. I stop at the stop sign and watch him. I try to imagine on some days what he would look like if he were given a nice hot shower, hair cut and beard trim and some new clothes and shoes. Then my mind wanders further. Was he ever a father? Did he ever get married? Wonder where his family is?...things like that. I look in his eyes and they look so sad and tired...and lonely. I can tell the trash bag that he carries over his shoulder is heavy and weighing him down but probably contains his world. Surely he has some food in there. I mean, I know I'm not the only person who passes him every morning. That's how I justify not stopping. Somebody else had to have given him something to eat. Right? I don't think twice about it most mornings...until yesterday morning. I just completed the book "In His Steps" (great book by the way, if you haven't already read it). It's about a pastor who challenges his entire congregation to stop before they make a decision and ask themselves "What would Jesus do?" The whole town becomes affected by the new decision making process and lives are forever changed. So I asked myself..."What would Jesus do?" Would he drive off, assuming that this poor, homeless, elderly man has been given a hot meal by someone else? Would he just wave back at the man, say "awww, bless his heart", then continue on to work? Doubtful. He would have compassion on the man, stop and talk to him, offer him food, shelter, clothing, whatever he needed. So why was I being so selfish? (Yeah, it's selfish. I know it's a harsh word to use against oneself but it is what it is.) I don't have an excuse...My thoughts start racing..."I'll be late for work...what if he gets angry? What if he smells bad? What if he becomes clingy and expects this every time I see him? What if he needs more help than I'm able to give? Those thoughts and more keep going through my head until I finally realize that I'm almost to work. Another day wasted of me not helping him. I pulled into my parking space and broke down:
"God, I'm so blessed with things I don't deserve. Please forgive me for being selfish. I'm sorry for not listening to your Spirit and helping out someone in need. Please give me another chance to stop and give this man some food and offer him my help. I'm so thankful that you are a loving God and that one day, just as You promised, there will be no more suffering. Thank you for blessing me with home, health, food, and clothes. Help me never to take these things for granted." 

All day, that's all that was on my mind. I couldn't wait until the next morning. I was determined that I was going to leave early and go get breakfast and hot coffee for him. Except for this morning he was nowhere to be found. I looked everywhere I thought he might be and didn't see him anywhere. I gave up the search and headed to work. I then had a wave of sadness come over me. What if something happened to him? What if I don't see him again? That means I missed my chance. I missed my chance to help him. Then the worst thought yet...I felt I had basically ignored God asking me to help someone. I immediately felt like I did when I was a little girl and had heard my daddy say I disappointed him. 

There are some song lyrics in this book that I read: 'All for Jesus, all for Jesus, All my being's ransomed powers, All my thoughts, and all my doings, All my days, and all my hours...' A man asks the congregation if they know what that song even meant. He said "It seems to me there's an awful lot of trouble in the world that somehow wouldn't exist if all the people who sing such songs went and lived them out." Those words resounded in my mind over and over. What if people really would stop and ask themselves What would Jesus do before they did anything? What if we really gave ALL to Jesus? ALL our days and ALL our hours? Truly walked in His steps?

Don't miss your opportunity to do something that God is leading you to do. If you don't listen, you might not get another chance. 

"He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also to walk even as He walked."