My heart dropped as I saw him sitting there. All by himself in a corner booth of McDonalds. Winter cap on his head, jeans rolled up with black and white converse sneakers on his feet, and a look that he did not belong. I was over in a rough part of Fort Worth getting food for a couple of young men that I mentor. As I watched this young man make a cardboard sign, to panhandle on the street, God gave me an overwhelming desire to go talk to him. I simple sat down in his booth and said talk to me. Tell me your story and why you are here at this time in your life? He preceded to tell me that life in Keller, (a very affluent part of the metroplex) was hard for him. Dad left many years ago and mom remarried a very hard man. The kind of man that makes you scared to come home at night. He ruled the house and what he says goes. Even his mom was scared of him but she had to listen and go along because he paid all the bills. He was kicked out by this man with no place to go… and no concern by this so called step dad.
So there he sat… Card board sign… 20 years old… with a hard future ahead of him. As I glanced down at his wrist I saw a rubber bracelet that said “God is bigger” 2 Corinthians 9:8. I asked if he believed in God and in that bracelet and in 2 Corinthians. He said I certainly do and I know God will never give me more than I can handle.
Here is a young man, 20 years old. A time in life when he should be thinking about what to buy his girlfriend for Christmas? He should be enjoying Friday nights out with his friends having fun and talking about girls. He should be going to college and thinking about what his future holds. Instead he is worried about where his next meal is coming from, and making sure that he is not found by the cops, staying in the abandoned house where he told me he sleeps. As I bought him dinner and helped him out, all I could think was “by the grace of God go I”. It is only by Gods grace that any of us have a warm home to sleep in and no worries about when we will eat again. It is only by Gods amazing grace that so many of us have a bright future and people who love us.
He told me that someday when he gets on his feet he wants to counsel with young people and help them find their way. I told him that is what I do, not for a living but because God has asked me to. I told him that I am over in that area quite often and I would look him up to talk and to help him in anyway that I can. Does he do drugs? He says he doesn’t, but I’ve been lied to before. Is his story true and accurate? He says it is but I’ve been lied to before. Regardless of his story he needs someone to care. He needs someone in this crazy world we call home to show the love of Christ to him. He needs someone to care enough to ask, “how can I help” and “what can I do for you”. Christ expects that from all of us that are blessed. He expects us to notice the person that he puts in our path that needs guidance and love. We are to notice the down trodden person that could use a step up, and a kind face to show concern and compassion. As I walked away I told him to keep his chin up and remember that God loves him. He said mister… what made you want to talk to me and help me and tell me you will be back. I said because its what Jesus would do and besides, I really do care!!
We are not called to lives of comfort. We are not called to lives of convenience. We are not called to lives of seeing how much wealth we can accumulate. We are called by Christ himself to lives of service to others regardless of the cost. We are called to lives of unwavering compassion with very little thought of ourselves. We are called to a life that reflects our Saviors love for all mankind without the thought of anything in return.
Perry D. Hoover / www.happyjesusday.org