Yesterday I wrote here about sharing our ” bread”, our resources, with those who are poor or experiencing a crisis. The idea was based on King Solomon’s advice in Ecclesiastes 11:1-2. I encouraged the reader to share with those they meet during their daily activities here in their communities, or even far from home.
This morning before I left for work, I paused and prayed for a few minutes. It was a short, sincere prayer. I prayed that God would use me today for whatever His plans were for me. I would like to tell you that is a regular prayer of mine, but it isn’t. Before my hand hit the doorknob to leave, I felt a strong sense come over me that I was going to cross paths with a homeless person and God may use me in that capacity. To be clear, I did not hear a voice, just a very strong thought. I had not shared any “bread” with such a person in almost a year. It was this time last year, when I shared some citrus fruit at the local grocery store on Main Street. The one that stopped giving out free coffee to its’ customers because the homeless people decided to get in on the deal too, and well, you know, that just doesn’t look good for their business. It may lose the reputation of “where shopping is a pleasure”, because someone may ask them for spare change as they enter or exit.
So, on my forty minute drive in to work, I pondered about where I might see a homeless person. I decided to go to the same store down on Main Street, because I had to get my lunch, and I might see one there, because there were a few who sat outside the store, on the sidewalk. But as I entered and exited, I did not see such person, so I went on to work. I’d like to tell you that I went searching for the homeless during lunch, but not once did such person enter my mind for the rest of the day.
As I left work, the thought came to go visit the local Dollar General to purchase Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box items. After making the purchase, I went out the door and saw a man with a back pack standing near the building by his bicycle. He said to me “do you have any spare change?” I replied back, “sorry I do not have any”. So he said to me, “ok, God bless you”. I walked about 20 feet to my car and it hit me like a ton of bricks, the thought came so clearly: “turn around, there is the homeless person, that you thought about earlier this morning after you prayed to me”. I headed back into the store and found a store gift card. I went back out and said to the guy, “I have something better than change, I’m giving you a gift card. But first, I have to tell you a story.”
I started to tell him about what I had prayed before I left home this morning, and about going to the store on Main Street, and not finding anyone in need. By the time I finished I had chill bumps on my arms and I was crying! Those who know me, would agree that I am not Emotional Emma as I rarely cry in public. He gave me a hug and told me that when he was in the military he made a decision to be a God follower. He had been in Desert Storm during the war. When he came back to get settled in, he couldn’t find a church he felt comfortable in because they were either like a “social club”, or they had “classes of people he didn’t fit into”. He then told me he prayed but wasn’t reading his Bible regularly but that he knew he was supposed to love God and love others. I suggested a local church for him to visit, and he said others had also recommended him go to this church. I shared with him that I had never experienced anything like this before where I asked God to use me, he directed my thoughts to folks like him, and then I met him the same day. He seemed very touched by the experience as well. Again, I’d like to tell you that I asked if I could pray for him before I left, but I didn’t.
I’m sharing this here because I prayed a simple, sincere prayer today, and I had my plans of finding the person on Main Street. When I didn’t, I no longer thought God had a plan to place that person in my path, I had completely forgotten about the prayer! And when He did plant the person in my path, I almost missed a blessing and would have jumped in my Honda and left, had I not had the thought to turn around and go back.
I’m now waiting eagerly for the next opportunity, which may be a totally different way to serve up bread. This God-sized experience has stirred me today. We have a Sovereign God who has the time to break into my life and allow me to be His hands today to minister to a military veteran, who put his life on the line for our country. I promise you I will not miss my bread. The man simply asked for spare change, and I’m the one who walked away changed. Feel free to leave a comment of how you have shared your bread.