Beau here. I wanted to share with you a sorta funny, sorta sad, sorta odd story. To make sense of this, let me first share with you a passage that is at the heart of this. It is from Matthew 25.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 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.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
So when I see beggars, I often struggle with what to do. Many are looking for beer money. Others just beg for a living and will lie to get what they want. Others truly have needs where God might be calling for me to be His means of grace.
In the spirit of the passage above, I don't want to say "no" when "Jesus" asks for me to help him. So I committed a few weeks ago to truly engage with folks asking for help, trying to really engage in creatively meeting the need they ask for. Today I had my most interesting experience yet.
About 7PM, I was in a parking lot at a restaurant and a guy asked me for help. Here is the dialogue:
The guy: "Hey man, I need some help. I am driving to Lubbock with my family, and I just got a flat time. In the name of Jesus, can you help with some money to buy the tire?"
Me: "Man, I would love to provide all you need. Let me give you a ride to buy the tire, but first I want you to let your family know, so they won't be worried. Walk back to your family, and I will pull over there."
I go get my car and drive to the nearby gas station parking lot where he is.
The guy: "Man, my family is gone. Maybe they ran across the street to McDonald's."
Me: "I don't mind waiting. Why don't you go over there to find him, and I will wait for yall to get back."
The guy crosses busy street to McD's. Comes back a minute later...alone.
The guy: "They aren't there. Maybe someone stopped to help and they went somewhere with them."
Me: "I tell you what. You wait here for your family, and I will go buy the tire. That way they won't panic if they return not to find you. Let's go check the car, so I know what tire to buy."
The guy walks to a car. I notice all four tires look fine. He points to a tire and feels around on the inside wall.
The guy: "You see, there is a crack and bulge on the inside wall of the tire."
I reach in to feel it myself.
Me: "I don't feel it. You should be fine to drive to Lubbock."
The guy: "It makes a really bad sound when I drive it. If you heard it, you would understand."
Me: "Let's take a ride."
The guy looks over my shoulder and then starts walking away. I look over my shoulder and see a lady walking over.
Turns out the car is not his. The lady works at the gas station and saw the two of us on the security camera messing with her car!
I need to think quickly. She looks Ethiopian.
Me: "Hey, that guy was a scam artist claiming that car was his. Are you Ethiopian?"
Her: "Yes, I saw him scamming someone else earlier. He got money from the other guy. Yes, I am from Ethiopia." She looks surprised.
Me: "I have two Oromo (note: Ethiopian tribe) kids."
Her: "Have you been to Ethiopia."
Me: "Yes, Addis Ababa as well as Guragie Zone."
Her: "Oh, I am Guragie."
Me: "I work with an orphanage in Gunchire in Guragie Zone."
We chat a bit longer. I find out she is here on a visa and only has two more years of work to get her citizenship. Her husband is back in Addis, and she visits him once per year. In two years, she will work to get him over here. Any way, I want to go back and meet her again to maybe invite her to dinner with our family.
The guy didn't get his money, but maybe God used this to have me meet this gal who might be here with no family. TBD...