Monday, October 22, 2012

The Broken

It's five o'clock traffic and I just want to be home. My mind is distracted with the crazy driver that just cuts in front of me. This heart feels cold and impatient toward life.

There is this rushing from one point to another like it's so important. And for all the time that I've wasted, everything is urgent to get to the next thing on my list right now.

I caught just a glimpse of him.  A man loaded down by the world with bundles and baggage. His clothes looked heavy and soiled. And as he walked his long wild hair frames a sunken face that was cast-downward.

That was it.

I fly past him without hesitation. Another broken person walking the streets in a broken world.

Then the heart-tug begins.

In my harried-rush this thought presses in to go back and give him money. 

Continuing down the busy main street where traffic congestion lessens and I'm only five miles from home, I blurt out loud, "I don't even have any cash!" But the $20 dollar bill neatly stashed away in my billfold comes to mind.  This conversation with myself coupled with my over-the-speed-limit driving has now taken me well beyond where I saw his obscure image. I'm protesting and whining when all of a sudden, as if I lost the battle with myself, I sigh heavy and flip the blinker light to signal my change in direction.

Still I'm only half-serious about finding the man. How could I know if the Lord pressed it on my heart to go back or if it was just another racing thought in my head?

My eyes search up and down each street. The blocks roll by. "He could honestly be anywhere by now," I'm muttering.  Peering down each avenue. No lumbering figure. Nothing. I continue this search far beyond what I felt like he could have traveled.

Now I'm fully convinced how ridiculous I am, looking to find a homeless man I only saw for a split-second, to give him the little-bit-of-nothing money I have on me, because I think God told me.

Finally I resign to the fact the man had slipped away and the only voice I am hearing is mine. As I pulled up to the stop sign ready to resume the route that will take me home where I just really want to be, I look once to the south. Then to the north. Back to the south.

I literally jump when the man is there and walking right toward me.

Fumbling for the money I reach over and make sure the doors are locked. Not exactly a big faith-filled moment. He's looking at me as he approaches. He's a man of great stature. He has a pronounced limp. 

There is this moment.

A moment when my heart is pounding hard.
A moment when he realizes I'm waiting there for him.

This moment when my cold heart melts for his broken heart and when True Hope rises.

As he enters the  crosswalk I tried to think of what to say. 

I see his demeanor change, his walk quicken and his face light up. His downcast face lifted into this ear-to-ear smile that only flashes a few random teeth.  It was a beautiful smile that touched something deep within me. 

He took the pitifully small gift from my hand and replied, "oh may God bless you ...oh may God bless you.." 

Beaming I told him, "Well actually sir, Jesus wanted to bless you. He sent me back to find you."

As I'm pulling away I'm overwhelmed with the simple encounter. His face full of light. The heavy spirit that was transformed in an instant. How the gift of grace sparked hope and love. 

Perhaps the bigger thing is knowing that the Lord DID want to bless him. And strangely it is me that receives the gift. As I am driving away it is my heart that's bursting full of the blessing. I drive slower and tears fill my eyes. Tears because I am going to a home, to people who care about me and there is more money and resources available than I deserve. There is an overwhelming sense that the Lord let me be part of something weightier than just an encounter with an unshaven man and the giving of a small gift. There is  healing in the poverty of my soul.

After this, it was my husband who had the idea to do some simple cards that could help communicate that Jesus is why we give when opportunities present themselves to extend pure grace.

We call them our "True Religion Cards."

The homeless man opened my heart to be more sensitive to the Spirit about people in need. Opportunities abound to love people right where they are. The waiter, the motel cleaning lady that doesn't speak English, the person sitting outside the library, the young man at the sandwich shop.

I don't want them to think I'm just "a nice lady." 

Because I'm not really. 

I want them to know Jesus gave the blessing.

There are lots of opinions on giving to the homeless

This is what I've been learning. If the Lord puts on my heart to give to someone, then it's my responsibility to obey and it is the other persons responsibility what they do with the gift. 

Isaiah 58:6-14 is what I want to flesh out in such a way as to leave Jesus fingerprints on souls.

Now there is money tucked in little places, prepared for those moments.

The Word says that we should visit those in jail, tend to orphans, widows and foreigners in their affliction. 

Jesus didn't ask me to evaluate worthiness or be the one to clean up a life. He did ask me to pour myself out. It took a man clothed in garments of brokenness to refocus my shallow heart on eternal things.  

The Broken
by Bebo Norman

* Feel free to copy and print the "True Religion Cards" for your own use to bless others!

Linking Up With A Holy Experiencing today.
Oh you must check out her blog and her heart!

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Jessica Stone said...

Thanks, Friend.
Could I copy and past your little handout notes...
to have on hand, too?
May you find this to be true today:
He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
Love you.

Unknown said...

This is beautiful. i have heard a lot of different opinions about giving to the homeless on the street corner, but the only opinion that matters is Jesus'. My Church has made bags of goodies (treats, crosswords, water bottles, etc) and handed them out to the homeless on the street. Even wrapping the money in a strip of paper with a Bible verse on it- God's Word never comes back empty. May each person receiving money on the side of the road today feel God's presence and grace, in Jesus' name.

Newly and Forever, Tamantha said...

Thanks for sharing..I broke into tears when you you told the man that Jesus had sent you to find him...And isn't that what we all need? To know that He sees us, He is looking...when we feel lost, invisible, poor...either in this physical world or in spirit? I'm so glad you were listening and being open to God speaking to you!

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