I had not planned on getting any cash back at the store until the Holy Spirit insisted on not letting me pass by this one. He was standing in a place where it’s not surprising to see someone holding up a sign, there are many homeless who hang out at this particular store. He stood on the corner, on the road where everyone exits and enters the shopping center.
His sign said, “A little goes a long way.” Something about it shook me and wouldn’t let me go. The Holy Spirit nudged me all the way into the store and as I ticked things off my list, He was there. And so was he. I separated a five dollar bill from the rest and as I drove out I motioned him over and handed it to him. I felt a spark of human connection as I smiled into his eyes and said, “God bless you.” Which really meant that I didn’t know what else to say.
It meant, “I’m sorry you are in this predicament whatever the cause.”
It meant, “I’m sorry it had to come to this.”
It meant, “I can’t imagine how it would be to have to stand out here with a sign.”
It meant, “Where is your mother?”
Both of us part of the human race, both of us struggling in different ways.
“Semper Fi! He said with a gap-toothed smile as I waved and drove off. And today in prayer, he was still making me cry, because really, there but for the Grace of God go any of us. I don’t know how he spent my measly five dollars and I don’t care. What matters is that I didn’t ignore the Holy Spirit when he whispered, albeit insistently.
The truth is we’re all carrying signs. The difference is most of us carry them on the inside. I wonder what would happen if we all got out and stood by that man in solidarity, each with our own signs held up right alongside his.
“Scarred by life”
“Desperate to be loved”
“Deeply in debt”
“Angry and hurting”
“Lost and alone”
Some of us have signs others have put on us that couldn’t be further than the truth. Jesus had one of those. The sign over the cross said, “The King of the Jews.” That ticked the religious people off, they wanted it to say, “He said I am King of the Jews.” What it should have said was, “Savior of the World.”
It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” John 19:19-22
What’s your sign?
Until our hearts break at what breaks God’s we might as well be acting in a play. The greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and our neighbor as ourselves.
Most of the time I suck at it.
I don’t think it means we all quit our jobs and head to Africa or India, but it does mean we have to keep our hearts soft and be open to the Spirit. It’s so easy to be cynical. This world gives us plenty of reasons, and so do people. But the wonderful thing about God is that despite our failings to love each other, God still loves us enormously. He remembers we are dust.
Today, I read this through tears……..receive it with me today:
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His loving-kindness toward those who fear (respect) Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
Psalm 103:1-5, 8-14
photo credit: creative commons