God recently gave Peter Burdette, one of our church members, an opportunity to step outside his comfort zone and share the love of Jesus with a total stranger. Here’s his description of what took place. Thanks for your example, Peter!
In Mark 12 Jesus says that one of the greatest commandments is to love your neighbor as yourself.
A few weeks ago I came across a man who was standing on the side of the road with raggedy clothes and a cardboard sign. On the sign he had written, “Please Help!” It seemed like no one wanted to stop and offer assistance. He was just another homeless man on the side of the road. I had seen people like this before and felt bad for them but never had done anything to help. However this time was different. Verses in scripture kept appearing in my head:
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in the word or talk, but in deed and in truth.” – 1 John 3:17-18
I felt strong compassion for the man and a call to action so I pulled aside and offered to buy him breakfast. We went into a nearby McDonald’s and got something for him to eat. While we were waiting he told me a little about himself like where he had come from and what he used to do. When his order was ready we sat down and before he started to eat we prayed. We prayed for his family in West Virginia, we prayed for things we were thankful for, and we prayed for God to once again become alive and active in his life.
When we were done praying he told me his life story. How he used to be just like me. Young, ambitious, and how he was an active member in his old church. He had moved from West Virginia because he had gotten a job as a truck driver and needed money to help support his family. It wasn’t long after he had gotten his job that he was involved in a loading accident where he had broken his back. He showed me his scars and his back brace and told me how hard it was for him to do the simplest of movements. He also told me that he had been let go from his job because of his back and had been living homeless for quite some time. He had never had the chance to get back to a normal life. After he was done sharing with me I was able to share with him God’s promise to Abraham and as a result his promise to us through what Jesus did on the cross and what that meant. When I was done I prayed for him again and before I could leave he told me something I will never forget:
“I have been standing on that side of the road for a long time. People would ignore me or stop and give me money. Never has anyone actually stopped to take me to get food and get to know me. I am so thankful. God bless you!”
His words were so encouraging to me. That man had been more of an encouragement to me than I think I had been to him. Through God’s infinite wisdom and sovereign will he has laid the road on which we all must walk. We as God’s people have been given a beautiful gift of freedom and hope. We can share it with people we know and don’t know simply by loving and getting to know them.