It was about 10pm on a Friday night in mid-November. I was driving home from a worship ministries retreat where I had just spent the better part of 4 hours worshiping and rehearsing and where I would be returning early the next morning to do more of the same.
For some unknown reason, I chose to drive home through town rather than taking the interstate.
As I slowed to a stop at a rather rough intersection, I saw him standing on the street corner with a sign asking for money.
I justified the heck out of why I shouldn’t give…
I was a female by myself, and it was late (there were other cars),
I never give money to homeless people like this (so what?),
I might not have small bills in my purse (I did),
The light would change quickly (it didn’t).
But although I clearly sensed the Lord telling me to give that man money and trust Him with whatever happened after that, I flat-out told God “no”.
After what felt like an eternity, the light eventually did change, but I drove home under the heavy weight of conviction: I had just rejected Jesus on that street corner.
Fast forward to a Sunday afternoon on the busy streets of Antigua, Guatemala. Our team had just been challenged to spend an hour walking around and observing our surroundings while quietly praying that the Lord would allow us to see through His eyes.
We were then given another challenge: to take $5 and spend a couple hours walking around the city listening for how the Lord would lead us to use the money. No rules. Just to listen and obey.
As my partner and I began to walk around, I sensed that I was just supposed to give the money away. That was certainly uncomfortable, and meeting a physical need certainly seemed more practical, but this time, I was ready to listen.
After about an hour of walking, we came to a crowded place in the sidewalk. I was a few steps ahead of my partner, and I literally had to come to a complete stop to allow several people to pass in front of me.
When the sidewalk cleared, I noticed a homeless man sitting against the wall, with his hat beside him, playing an instrument. He was taking up most of the sidewalk (hence the lack of space), so as I stepped past him, my shoe touched the bottom of his. In that moment, I just knew. The $5 was for this man. It didn’t matter how he would use it, I was simply to be obedient and give.
As I walked away, I recalled the night I rejected Jesus on that street corner in Charlotte, and I knew that on this day, I had just been redeemed on a street corner in Antigua.
Such a simple moment.
But such beautiful and undeserved redemption that could only be orchestrated by a loving and faithful and gracious God.
He is so good.
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Matthew 25:40 (ESV)