When a homeless man bought me lunch
We were standing in line at Taco Bueno. Sunday lunch wasn’t going to be fancy on this day, but we were excited to be meeting friends who’d visited our church. In the midst of trying to figure out what we were ordering, which usually involves complex math and lots of “no, we’re getting water to drink,” we told a man to jump in front of us to order. After ordering, he turned around and said, “God wanted me to buy lunch for someone today. I bought a meal for someone in your family.”
Now, I’ve had people tell me that God told them that I should buy them lunch, but I’ve never had anyone tell me that God told them to buy me lunch. I thanked him, introduced myself and we began to visit. I’ll call him C. I asked C if he lived in the neighborhood.
C: Well, I’m homeless.
Me: Oh man. That’s tough. So you are homeless but you just bought a lunch for me?
C: Yes. I’ve known all morning that I was supposed to buy lunch for someone.
Me: You’ll never guess what I preached about this morning.
One hour earlier I was preaching a sermon called God’s care for the hungry from I Kings 17. In the chapter a desperate widow is preparing to eat a final meal with her son. Death from starvation awaits them.
Elijah comes along and asks her for something to eat and drink. She tells him that she has nothing to share, but he tells her to trust God. AND SHE DOES. Soak that in for a moment.
She uses the last of her flour and oil. Well, sorta. She uses the last of it, but when she reaches for the jar the next day, there is more in it. She empties it again. The next day, once again, there is more. God continually provided for her and her son. Her faith was rewarded.
C had never met me. He did not know that I’d had a pretty brutal week. It was a week in which I’d done everything I could to do the right things and love people in the process. But not everyone perceived my motives to be pure. I was feeling bruised. So imagine what happened in my spirit when C said, “I think God just wanted me to encourage you today. You are living and loving well. Don’t give up.” The words flowed like a stream on parched ground.
I’ve spent a little more time with C since then. If he’s an angel, he’s still hanging around for a while. His story is a powerful reminder: God cares for the hungry, the discouraged, the broken. And often God uses obedient people to do the caring.