Her dirty blonde hair hung limp at her shoulders. Baggy, dark clothes falling loosely on her frame. With no shame or hesitancy she made her way to me. “Can you spare $.25? I got to get to the bus.” She was a little jumpy but I could not attribute that to drug use…could just be she was on the grind to do just what she said. Scrounge up some change to get to where she was going. My heart immediately eager to help someone in need especially for just a measly quarter, “Not sure cuz I hardly carry cash but I’ll see”. I made my way from the gas pump and into my vehicle, reaching for a wallet and looking around to make sure I wouldn’t be jumped by unseen partners in crime. There were several others at the station and it was broad daylight so I was quickly put at ease. I dumped all I had into her hand, a few dimes but more pennies than I would have cared to count. “Thanks!” and she was off, making her way to the next unsuspecting soul. I watched as he also dug into his car for change. And then I watched again as a nearby pair did the same. Had I been hustled? I was disturbed to think so. I mean if you’re going to hustle, most people say “can you spare some money for me to get some food?” but $.25 didn’t seem like a hustle…that is, until I watched her collect what I assumed would be enough for bus fare, and yet continue on with her spiel…How much is bus fare anyway? But more than the loss of the pennies, I was more grieved that I did not offer her more than just monetary change. I should have offered her REAL change. I should have grabbed her hands, looked into her eyes and told her her destiny. Told her that she was and is God’s. She belongs to the Most High and is royalty.
And yet I didn’t.
I could say because I was caught off guard. Didn’t expect this encounter and therefore hadn’t adequately prepared for ministering the gospel at 8:15am this morning. That sounds bad enough. But even worse, could it simply be that I had gotten comfortable in my routine and any variation from that was out of the question? If so, how unchristlike of me. When Jesus walked the earth, He INVADED the lives of people and they in turn INVADED His. Real people. Sinful, dirty, begging people.
Mark 2: 15-17
Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
There was a time I was there, meeting with people where they were. And although the season has changed, and ministering to the lost has taken on more of a Law and Order Detective, NY Undercover, type of role, that desire to openly proclaim His goodness is still there. This encounter was a reminder of my true purpose. To manifest His kingdom. Any time. Any way. At any cost.
I hope it reminded you as well.
Acts 3:6 “But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”