Sitting here reflecting over my weekend and I wanted to share something that happened this weekend that really filled my heart...
About two weeks ago, I was out and about as I usually am, running a few errands. I made a stop to my nearest Target to pick up a few things (a few things? Right. lol). As I was walking to the entrance, I noticed a Caucasian male standing near the entrance. As I got closer, I heard him say,
"Excuse me Ma'am."
I turned around to see a slender, slightly unkempt gentleman trying to get my attention. I already knew what he wanted after quickly observing his demeanor. Rushing to get to the door so I could get in and get out, I briefly turned around (didn't want to be rude) and said,
"Would you happen to have any extra change so I may get me something to eat?"
Now, I live in Chicago. Believe me when I say that this happens ALL the time. There are pan handlers everywhere. In front of stores, on the corners, and even in the street at stoplights. Sometimes without even hearing what they have to say I brush them off most of the time because I don't feel like dealing with them. And sure enough just like I thought, this gentleman was asking for money. But for some strange reason, I noticed a sincereness in his eyes when I looked at him. At that moment I felt the Holy Spirit gently whisper to me,
"help him." But as usual, I walked past him, shook my head and replied,
"I'm sorry, I don't."
I walked into Target, got my "few" things and walked out on the opposite entrance so I wouldn't have to interact with him again.
On the drive home I kept thinking about it. For some reason, I couldn't get this man's face out of my mind. I immediately felt convicted and sad that I didn't help him. I couldn't really understand why out of all the panhandlers I say no to, this one weighed heavy on me. I knew then that it was because I didn't listen to what the Holy Spirit told me to do, and I was sorry.
Fast forward to this past Friday. Friday morning, I thought about the situation again while laying in my bed. I thought about how it wouldn't have taken much for me to give him the change from my coin purse. I brushed the thoughts off and just went about my day. Later that day, I again was out and about running errands, picking up food to prepare for a few house guests later on that evening. Walmart was on my list of places to go to pick up some snacks. As I was looking for places to park (the lot was unusually packed), I had to park further away from the entrance. As I pulled into my parking space, I see a man a few feet away from my car. I took a quick glance and I knew it was him! I was shocked! And I was surprisingly happy! I got out of my car and heard,
"Hey there pretty lady, would you mind sparing some..."
Before he could finish, I smiled and asked him if he was the same guy that I saw in front of Target the previous week. He said yes and I chatted with him for a bit, asking him how he was doing (like I knew him lol). I told him that instead of giving him money, I would get him something to eat. He smiled and said he would wait by my car for me to return out of Walmart. I walked into Walmart smiling because I knew I had the opportunity to do things right this time. I got what I needed and walked into the Subway inside and bought a footlong sub, 2 chocolate chip cookies and a Coke. As I was walking back to my car, there he was, still standing there. When he turned around and saw me handing him his food, he started laughing with excitement. I had never seen anyone so happy! I don't think that he believed that I would actually buy him food. He thanked me, took the food and walked away. I got in my car and noticed as he was walking away he did a little fist pump and mouthed "YES!" I drove off and he waved at me again as he saw me leave.
This may not mean much to many, but to me this was monumental. At first I thought that this was a mere coincidence but then I realized that no, God orchestrated this. He gave me a second chance. He taught me a lesson. He used me to be a blessing to His child. And although I was disobedient the first time, He gave me a second chance all the while teaching me how important it is to give.
All of these thoughts and feelings overwhelmed me while I was driving and (me being my sensitive self lol) I started crying and I wasn't sure why. I was overcome with emotion and my heart was SO full because of the realization that God loved me so much that He gave me a second chance to do things right. I was also full because it made me realize that we sometimes take what we have for granted. All this man wanted was to eat. God has blessed me with so much, what would it take away from me to help him? My Dad always used to say, "We get to give to get to give to get to give..." It's an ongoing cycle. Ultimately, God blesses us to be a blessing to someone else. And although it is impossible for us to help everybody, it is extremely important that we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit when He urges us to help someone in particular. I may not know why it was so important that I help this man that God gave me a second opportunity, but I do know that it was part of His plan. And that fact alone is enough for me.
I am so glad that God allowed me this opportunity. I'm glad that I was able to mirror Jesus' love by helping someone that could possibly never help me. I believe that I benefited more from helping that gentleman than he did. Helping him indirectly helped me.The joy I felt was priceless and incomparable. God taught me a powerful lesson. The indirect power of giving.