As I was on my run through Mission Viejo, I came upon a man on the corner with a cardboard sign that said “PLEASE HELP”. He was also wearing a shirt that said he was homeless.
I won’t lie, I found that a bit odd. I kept on running.
Then it hit me. God whispered in my heart to help the man.
It didn’t matter what my perceptions were, my fellow brother in Christ needed help.
I was reminded of words spoken by Jesus himself.
“If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded” – Mark 9:41 NLT
All I had was two fives. It was money I was using to stop at the store later to pick up some groceries on the way back. Most people tend to give homeless people just a few dollar bills. If we don’t have ones, we don’t give them anything.
I turned around, pulled out one of the fives and very happily gave it to the man.
I saw the face of an older man. A man who has lived a long life and was struggling. This wasn’t some younger person with their full physical abilities. This is someone much further along in their life.
His face lit up. He thanked me profusely. He told me he’d pray for my family and I. I told him God loves him and to take care.
With that I continued on my run.
Then I felt guilty. I felt like I should have given him all of my money. After all I was going to be headed home to a house. I’d be eating a good dinner and sleeping in a comfortable bed with my family all under the same roof.
After turning around to head back home, I decided I’d offer to go buy him some food at the store. I’d make sure he was nourished.
As I came back up to him, he saw me and smiled. He thanked me again. I asked him his name, and found out it was Henry. We placed our hands on each others shoulders. I talked to him and asked if I could buy him some food. I told him I wanted to make sure that he was eating and taking good care of himself. He said thank you, but he was fine. He pointed to his bag where I saw he had some food given by other people. I checked again,”Are you sure there’s nothing I can get you?”. He said he was fine and then told me again that he would pray for me and my family.
I told him again to take care, told him God loved him, put my headphones back in my ears and went to go cross the street.
Then I felt him touch my shoulder. I turned around, took out my headphones and with him staring into my eyes he said.
“Jesus loves you. I will pray that He will give you and your family double.”
I started to tear up.
I thanked Henry before I became a sobbing mess on the side of the road.
How did this man know my struggles? How could he imagine to say something that I so badly needed to hear at that moment?
When you’re un-employed, financially stressed out and anxious to get back to work, those words just dive deep into your soul.
While my faith is strong, when your stress limits are pushed to the edge you begin to wonder how much God loves you. After all, if He did wouldn’t He want to make things better? Despite the most intense levels of perseverance, you just want the pain over with.
At that moment, I felt like God was talking to me through this man. As if God found a way to remind me in an audible way that He does in fact love me and that help was coming.
Henry had just blessed me more than any amount of cash could possibly bless him.
As I recounted the story for my wife later that evening I did break into tears. As I write this I find myself tearing up.
My family and I prayed for him later that evening, and I kindly ask that you do the same in your prayers.
While I know I did a good thing for Henry, in the end I realize I was the one who got the biggest blessing. The greatest gift. The greatest help. It’s a moment in my life I will remember until the day I die and will forever give thanks for.