October 6, 2009
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 NIV)
As I tried to catch a few more minutes of sleep, my husband leaned over and whispered that he was going to the pool. We were on a Florida vacation so going to the pool would be a normal activity for many people, just not my husband. He is not someone who "goes to the pool." Ever. The beach, maybe, but usually only when I go with him for a walk.
So, when he kissed me and headed out the hotel door alone I was curious, although not curious enough to miss a little more shut eye! As I rolled over thirty minutes later, I realized he hadn't come back yet, so I did a little snooping.
I went onto our balcony to see if I could get a glimpse of him, wondering what he might be doing. As I scanned the pool area, I caught sight of a homeless man sitting on the side of the road leading to the public beach entrance. I remembered passing him the day before as he was sleeping in the grass. Today, however, he was sitting with his legs crossed, coffee in hand, talking to someone. I leaned a little further over the edge of the balcony and my heart skipped as I realized it was my husband. The two of them were sitting on rocks, drinking cups of coffee, engaged in conversation.
I watched them from a distance for about twenty minutes until they parted ways. My husband looked so comfortable talking to this man. They were laughing, smiling and having a nice time. I learned he offered to do the guy's laundry, and then sent him on his way with a little cash.
I had to pause a moment and ask myself if I would have been gutsy enough to do the same. Would I approach a complete stranger just to sit and talk? Would I offer someone hungry a coffee and a breakfast bar as my husband did?
As I pondered their encounter I thought about the kind of man my husband is. You see, he's not the type to get up early and read his Bible every single day, and he's not on any committees at church. What you will see him do though, is talk to homeless men, give money to needy strangers, and be kind to people. You know, "be Jesus" to others.
I believe God asks each one of us to step out and "be Jesus." Sometimes, though, we get so consumed with everyday life we just don't do it, or we say we'll do it later because we don't have time now.
I also believe that God doesn't ask us to do anything that He hasn't already prepared us for. You see, my husband was homeless as a teenager. He was forced to live on his own from the time he was 15 years old. He learned to find shelter in snowdrifts, basements, and abandoned cars. He has a heart for the unlovely, the runaways, and those whose clothes aren't so clean.
We each have gifts, talents and past experiences that allow us to reach out and touch others in ways that will be meaningful to them. It often doesn't cost us more than a cup of coffee to do so. What experiences or passions do you have that would make you a perfect candidate to reach out to someone today?
Dear God, open my eyes to the people around me so I can make a difference to someone else. I know the circumstances of my life are not left in vain when I offer myself to You and Your service. Provide a way for me to "be Jesus" to someone today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most by Wess Stafford
Visit Shari Braendel's blog
Pray and ask God if there is someone whose life He wants you to touch. Pray that He will bring that person into your path and that you will have the courage to reach out.
Make arrangements today to serve at a local food closet or soup kitchen.
What experiences or hardships have I experienced that I can use to help another?
Will I be bitter about my past, or use it to connect with someone else who needs Jesus?
Ephesians 1:11, "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will…" (NIV)
Matthew 25:40, "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" (NIV)
© 2009 by Shari Braendel. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 06 October 2009.