Thursday, April 02, 2009

A Las Vegas Homeless Man’s Smile

James 4:13-15: "Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

Habakkuk 3:17-18: "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior."

Andy was driving home from work when he approached an intersection for a right turn. He noticed a homeless man in the crosswalk walking his bike across the street. He was scruffy, not dirty; in his 50’s or 60’s. He had an American flag on his bike along with a small bed roll and two small bags of his “stuff”. He noticed Andy waiting to turn and began to walk a lot faster to clear the intersection quicker so Andy could turn sooner. Andy was in no hurry but appreciated the act of kindness. They exchanged glances and Andy waved a “thank you” his way. The homeless man smiled. Andy drove down the street with his spirits lifted because of a kind act from a homeless man. Then it hit Andy, “Give him some money.” Andy did a u-turn and back tracked to talk with the homeless man. Andy offered the money and the homeless man said “No; that’s ok, I have enough.”

The homeless man had enough?? Really, the homeless man said he had enough! We live in an age of massive bail-outs, Madoff’s Ponzi schemes, AIG million dollar bonuses and the homeless man says he has “enough”. I wondered, does he have health care? Could he be a veteran? He probably has no social security to trust in or become worried about. We fret and anguish over our diminishing resources and we worry while we sit, well fed, in our warm houses.

I realized the homeless man has more faith than I! Yes, he is on the front line, his tomorrows are not guaranteed. He has no guarantee he will have food and shelter to face another day. Come to think of it, I don’t have any guarantees either. I live each moment like he does—in God’s grace. Every beat of my heart, every breath I take is an undeserved gift from my Creator.

Through this brief encounter, this nameless, homeless man taught me and Andy a lesson. Quit our grousing, lift up our heads, and make someone else’s life better, even if it is a smile to a red-headed kid from Minnesota going home from work.

May God bless you and keep you this day. May we trust in you, Almighty God. Forgive us for trusting in our stuff and loving our stuff more than you. In Jesus name, Amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Jerry!

Mike L