She came to serve like she does most weeks, but this week was different. She had gotten really bad news from her family that morning. It was obvious that it was hard to press on through the morning and I offered that if it was easier to go home for the day that we’d be fine.
“No,” she said through tears, “I think I need to be here.”
He came in about mid morning and he was very weathered looking. He had an address so we’re uncertain if he was homeless or giving the address of a shelter, but he looked like he had spent a good bit of time outdoors. He had on shorts and a t-shirt and he looked pretty clean, but his shoes…
His shoes were worn completely to the soles. As a matter of fact, he had stuffed paper towels into the holes to help cushion his feet and he had taped them together. He said he was there for just a few things.
She was the one that greeted him and in an instant she had purpose. Her heart was determined that if she couldn’t change the news about her family… if she couldn’t help… at least she could help someone.
She began searching the shoes first. She was kind of mumbling to herself (I thought) as she searched, but later learned that she was praying, asking God to provide.
She found 2 pairs of shoes.
She took them to the man and he immediately took off the terribly worn shoes only to reveal socks that were tattered and hardly looked like socks. The fact that he was wearing them was truly amazing, but he said that it was all that he had.
She found socks for him and right there he removed his old socks, threw them in the trash, handed his old shoes to her and put on his new found dignity.
He also found a few items of clothing and she was able to invite him to church. He took the information knowing that if he attended the church service that he would have suitable clothing to wear and would feel confident about entering the building like everyone else. It had been a long time since someone invited him to church. Maybe he WOULD come!
I’m not sure who felt more peace that day… who felt more of God’s provision… who felt more of His presence. She reminded him that she had not brought those shoes for him. Actually, she’s not a man and she doesn’t wear a size 10! The Lord knew that he would come and he needed to know that God was pursuing him.
The look on both of their faces helped me remember that God’s provision comes in more ways that tangible things. There’s purpose, peace, joy and hope that you share when you give. There’s gratitude, hope, thankfulness, and a little more trust and a sense of being loved that’s built when you receive.
Today she returned to serve. Her circumstances haven’t changed, and as a matter of fact, they will worsen as time goes by. When she arrived I asked her how she was doing, and she said, “Well, I’m ok. I’ve prayed for another special person to help today. I can’t wait to see who shows up and how God works in their lives! I’m ready!”