It was a normal Sunday morning in the Morey household. Alarms rang, church clothes were donned, mouths fed, coffee brewed, teeth brushed, kiddies scooped up and strapped into the van for church. Service was great, as usual. And, connecting with our church community again made us feel at home and a great sense of belonging. We herded our 3 children as they proceeded to stuff the last of the donuts in their mouths before we left. On our walk back to our really cool minivan, I felt as if the Holy Spirit literally smacked me in the face. I felt like he physically turned my head to notice a man sitting on the ground outside the Burlington Coat Factory that is adjacent to our church building. I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, You must to talk with him. Usually, I feel that the Holy Spirit will gently whisper to my spirit when there is an opportunity to impact someone’s life, but this time it was more aggressive. He was shouting at me, and made it very clear that this was not an option. As I proceeded to walk back to the van, I tried to make every excuse on why I couldn’t. I don’t have any money. I am with my family. The kids need to eat lunch (They WILL get hangry). We need to get home for naps….and on and on. As we were putting the kids in the van, I knew that I had to do this. I asked my wife if she had any cash and of course she didn’t… who carries cash anymore? Let alone the fact that she doesn’t even know where her keys, debit card, phone, glasses..are half the time. (Sorry babe! I love you!) I said, “I’ll be right back”, and ran to Dunkin Donuts across the street. I walked out the door with a meal, donuts and a gift card. I was set. Set for what? I had no clue. But I cluelessly and optimistically made my way over.
As I approached him, I reached out my arm to offer him the food. To my surprise he said, “No, no, no, please no.” I proceeded to ask him again to take it, and once again he said no and pointed to his bag of food letting me know he had enough. I was about to walk away and I heard the Holy Spirit say STAY, so I slid down onto the gum-speckled sidewalk and sat. I sat with him and would not let his refusal push me away. To my next surprise, he accepted the food, but I realized very quickly that he did not speak any English. I thought welp, I guess I was just supposed to give him this food (If you know me, you know that I am just about as white as they come. My wife is Puerto Rican, but it hasn’t rubbed off on me yet) and was about to get up and leave. Again I heard the Holy Spirit say STAY. I said What am I supposed to do when he cannot even understand anything I am saying? This man then pulls out his phone and starts to speak Spanish. This man had a translator app on his phone! He said “Thank you so much for the food. I feel very blessed today because of it.” We then proceeded to have a full conversation through his phone. I learned that he was from Cuba. He told me that he watched his son get murdered by the government. He then told me the government then caught him and threw him in prison for years. In prison he found a bible and read it everyday. Through the bible, he found hope in God. I asked him if he had a relationship with God and knew who Jesus was. He said he did and God was the one that got him through the years of hardship. Then, some years later they took him out of prison and proceeded to shoot him 6 different times He was left for dead. He showed me his bullet wounds. I even felt them. Somehow he managed to live through it and made it to The States, but he has had a very hard time and was starting to lose hope. He was becoming depressed. I told him that God made it very clear to me that I needed to stop and talk to him and that God had a message for him. I told him “God is thinking of you, and admires and loves you deeply. Do not give up, but be encouraged because He still has a mighty plan for your life.” At this point this man had tears pouring down his face as did I. I asked him if I could give him a hug and we embraced for what it seemed like a few minutes. He then told me, that I had no idea how much it meant to him that I stopped to talk. I said “It is not me, God made it very clear that he wanted to give you a message and that it was of the utmost importance.”
I walked away speechless. This was a divine appointment, and I am thankful that the Holy Spirit choose me for that moment, and that I listened. I almost walked away so many times because of my own list of reasons I kept building in my head. But God provided a way to communicate through technology.
How many times do we pray to God for him to use us and then when the opportunity comes our way, we come up with a million excuses why we can’t, and we miss these divine moments in time? There have been times where I do give a homeless person a few dollars or get them food, but then walk away and have my “feel good” moment for the day. I think we sometimes have this misconception that doing good deeds makes us better people, but where is the value in that? What it actually is, is a missed opportunity. A missed opportunity to start a relationship, a missed opportunity to actually get to know someone’s story, a missed opportunity to show them someone actually cares and a missed opportunity to lead them into a fulfilled relationship with Christ. After this divine moment, I questioned myself. How many moments have I missed because of my excuses or just being too busy to hear God’s voice? I made a commitment that day, that when I feel prompted to give, that I also will give my time. That I will stop, look these people in their eyes and ask them, for real, how they are doing. I want to take the time to know their name and hear their story. I want make an impact on every divine encounter and take advantage of every situation so that I just might be able to tell them how much God really loves them. He doesn’t ask that we are prepared with deeds, money, or special talent. He only asks for our simple obedience.
There is a song that says this
And it carries through eternity
Simple obedience changes history”