Recently, I was loading my groceries into the trunk of my car when a man approached and offered to take my buggy back to the store. I thanked him for that but he seemed to linger just a moment. I was pretty sure he was going to ask me for money, which is exactly what he did. Being that it was just about noon and there was a sandwich store about twenty feet away, I asked if I could buy him lunch instead. He was quite agreeable to that so off we went.
While waiting for his sandwich to be prepared I had some time to ask him about his situation. He had left a small town in Georgia where employment was scarce. I’m not sure how he landed in east Tennessee but I don’t suppose that’s important. The man said he had an interview in a couple of days at the grocery store that I’d just left. Meanwhile, there was no room at the Salvation Army so he was sleeping in a tent. His bicycle was his only form of transportation. I wish I’d thought to ask if that was how he got from Georgia to Tennessee! What struck me was how relaxed the man seemed. He didn’t seem anxious or worried. He just mentioned that he wasn’t sure how he’d manage to eat until he had a job. At that point, the words “the Lord will provide” just came out of my mouth. I believe that was the Holy Spirit answering my prayer before I even had a chance to speak it!
As we left the sandwich shop I explained that I kept “blessing bags” in my car and would get one for him. It contained snacks and a fast-food gift card among other things. Then, right there in the parking lot, I said a prayer for him and asked if he knew Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He said he did which I was very happy to hear. I certainly hope and pray that the next time I go grocery shopping I’ll see him at work there! Meanwhile, I’m counting on the promise that “the Lord will provide”.
And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” (Genesis 22:13–14).
Of course this verse from Genesis is what prompted me to tell the homeless man “the Lord will provide”. But, in a way, I think the Lord provided me with a few things during this encounter as well. Over the last several months I’ve been more deliberate about asking God to put people in my path and to give me the courage and wisdom to be a witness to them. I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to serve a brother in Christ through the simple act of buying his lunch and saying a prayer with him.
Dear God, please give us the boldness to not only provide for the physical needs of those you put in our path but also for their spiritual needs. Father, give us the right words at the right time to allow us to share your saving grace with those around us. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.
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Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!