Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
A story of sacrifice.
You do not get many chances really. God knows your heart and what you will do, so if you respond correctly, He will give you more chances! If you don’t, then perhaps you’ll get very few in your life. Here is a small sampling of some that have come my way in the last few years.
The homeless girl and her son
One day in the spring of 2018, I was walking out of the tax assessor’s office and I see a lady walking in, but she does not look all that happy. So I walk up to her and strike up a conversation. I hand her a puppy!
Claire picks the puppy up and brightens up too and then an amazing divine appointment took place. She was not begging and she was not asking for help, but in the passing of conversation I discovered many things about her. Thirty seven and one extremely hard life; used, abused and discarded and now with a 5 year old and no man around. She was there to get her food stamps and some housing help for herself and her child. Rapidly and intensely I changed the conversation to hone in on just what it was that she really needed.
In just 30 minutes an amazing two way conversation can take place. I discovered what was wrong and what was needed and said the things she truly needed to hear. At a few points she was almost in tears. Me too! But I wanted to help her so badly that no amount of the devil yapping in my mind’s ear: “You got stuff to do today man! Get outa here, God will take care of her, leave her alone.”… and no amount of: “You’re going to be late for your house showing, you have to stop talking to this lady!”… could stop me.
I flat out knew I was the only person on earth that would listen to her, help her and give her the time of day. I knew it! No one else on earth was about to help this lady.
“I got enough of my own problems!” is the mentality that most folks on earth have today.
Selfish. Unloving. Uncaring for fellow man.
I took precious time out of my day to actually do something for this woman. I won’t even go on some bragging spree telling you what it was, but I can say this; not many people would do what I did. That is for darn sure.
God changed her very life that day. Of that I am most certain. This was not a chance encounter.
What would you have done?
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind and soul and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
The homeless man in Chick-fil-A
In the summer of 2017 I had a limo full of kids and we are riding up to the Monadnock Bible Conference. We stopped in at a fast food place for a quick breakfast and I saw a homeless man. I knew he was hungry, I saw it. I walked over and said: “Hey buddy! How’s it going?” (Not many people will strike up a conversation with a homeless “Bum”.)
“Oh, Ok I guess” he said and then told me of all his troubles. Instead of shutting him off, I listened. I let him talk. I told him when he was done; “That is rough! Sounds like you have a tough life.”
“Yes”, he said. I asked him if he was hungry and he said yes. We went over to the counter and I ordered him a sandwich. “Would you like some hash browns with that?” I asked him? “Sure!” he said. “Oh, and a coffee.”
“Ok, ma’am, give him a coffee too, please.”
“That will be $6.” I reached for the money and paid for it. We had to wait a few minutes for it and I told him why I just did this. I told him about Jesus and the love he has for him. I told him about the new heaven and earth coming and how one day he can have a brand new body and enjoy all the riches God has to offer. Slightly shocked, never having heard this before…. he said thanks. I handed him a Gospel Tract booklet with about 24 pages of easy reading with pictures in it… all about Adam and Eve, sin and history and what is coming next.
I said; “Look man. You have 10 to 15 minutes to go sit over there and enjoy your breakfast. Why not take this with you and read it and think it over?” He said “Thanks! I will.” And so he did.
10 minutes later or so we had all eaten and were leaving and I saw him still reading as he is slowly eating his meal. I waved goodbye with a smile and he smiled back at me big time and said thanks again!
You see, we are given a few chances in life to make a difference in someone else’s life. Do you take that chance when you get it?
The homeless girl and her daughter
Many years ago, I was driving down the road in a beach town and was almost out of gas. I really have no explanation as to why I did not stop at the first 5 or 6 gas stations I passed, other than God had an amazing plan. I was on fumes! I rolled into the last chance I had before a 25 mile drive through country. As I pulled into a station and went to pump the gas, my wife and daughter went to the bathroom. They came out 5 to10 minutes later and told me a story of a homeless girl trying to hock a violin for $20 she needed for food. I asked them to bring her to me. I would deal with her. They went to get her.
Moments later we had been talking for a good long time. God lays it on my heart that this is a decent woman; just bad choices led her down tough paths. She was working and she and her kids lived in her car. She just could not get enough money together and she was poor as heck. Christmas was just a week away. Her story was that she was broke and she wanted to sell her violin for $20 so she could buy some small Christmas presents for the kids. She tried to sell me a guitar too. Now, it just so happens that my little girl wanted a violin and my boy wanted a guitar. Coincidence? I reach in my pocket and give her all that I have. $106 is all I had. She was asking for $40 and now she was crying.
I preached to her for perhaps 15 minutes or so about the reason I was doing this. I told her all about the love of God and the story of the gas and how this encounter was not by accident. That it’s a divine appointment. She was crying. My wife was crying and my kids were on the verge too. Moments later she said yes, that she would love to pray with us on the spot… and right there in the middle of a very busy gas station on a very busy street with cars and people coming and going, we all formed a circle holding hands, bowed our heads and prayed our guts out for this girl and her children. She was not embarrassed one bit, nor were we. This one lady and her family were more important to me than the entire world at that moment in time… I didn’t care what anyone thought about it!
I won’t go into all the rest, but we did what we could. In fact, we did all that we possibly could do for her. I made her an offer that I don’t think anyone on the face of this earth would have made. I guess it was just too much, for as the days passed she did not call back and take me up on this offer. But really, that is just for her, us and God to know I guess.
My point is … you get a few chances in life. Do you take them when they come?
I get perhaps 1 to 3 chances a year to buy someone some groceries or hand them some money or speak kindly to someone in need. How many chances do you get?
5 years ago I almost tripped over some 13 year old girl hiding in a back corner of a bookstore, on the floor, face buried in a book. “Oh, I am sorry!” I said, “I did not see you!” “That’s ok”, she responded. “No one ever notices me.”
Now what would you do? That is one heck of a statement. Can you see her problem right away?
“Oh sweetheart, why do you say that?” and she began to tell me. No one loves her, no one cares. She is discarded by all. Her parents don’t love her and she has no friends. She is shy and introverted and a book worm. I did all I could to help her and I talked to her for a good long time. She brightened up and even smiled towards the end. I told her to remember what I had said. She said she would and I waved goodbye.
As I was paying for my book, God spoke to my heart and told me that I wasn’t done; to go back. So I did. I handed her a Gospel tract for kids and $5 because I know she was poor and had nothing (that came up in the conversation earlier). “I want you to take this and go buy yourself a cookie and something to drink so you can sit here and enjoy your book. Oh, and when you get a chance read this story in here ok?” “Wow! Thank you” she said, and the smile was from ear to ear. Just lovely. Time to go. I was done.
I have a hundred stories just like this. Let me say this to you dear reader. You may not be a Christian, I don’t know. You might believe in “karma”. That concept of karma comes from the Bible. It’s the law of sowing and reaping. If you will sow kindness and goodness and expect nothing in return at all, the amazing thing is that God takes notice of it and if he deems it right at a time you need it… you will get repaid. What you sow is what you reap. It is good and right to do right. It is always right to do right. It is always wrong to do wrong. You and me just get a handful of chances in our life to ever reach out and connect and help someone. I don’t share any of these stories to brag and say “Look at me, look at what a great person I am.” No. I am a horrible, awful person. The only good I have is Gods mercy on me. He is the one who taught me and I have a duty to do right. Let us love out of a pure heart fervently, the Bible tells us. And also instructs us to do this in love unfeigned (not faked, not pretended). Oh, and there is this too: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10.
We are supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves. When you have this opportunity presented to you don’t shirk it or run. Take it.