“How pathetically emaciated,” I thought to myself.
My husband was talking to me, but his words drifted from my ears as my attention turned to a small, dirty, skinny figure with wildly matted gray hair. I couldn’t tell the gender but this figure was hunched over the public garbage can on the sidewalk, near the curb.
Randy and I had just come from a matinee of the new movie Courageous and were discussing things.
I’m not so sure why this guy was invisible to everyone else walking by, but he wasn’t to us. Obviously, God put him in front of us to do something.
“Look” I said, “Let’s get him some food.”
Randy approached cautiously and introduced himself, extending his hand. This diminutive man extended his blackened hand slowly, eyes wide. His name was Simon. I reached out my hand as well as Randy introduced me. Simon was very reluctant to touch mine with all his filthiness. I grabbed his hand anyway, smiled and shook it!
“Wouldn’t you rather have something from inside here?” Randy asked, gesturing toward a shop famous for juicing. There was nothing else close by. “Taken-aback” could hardly describe this fellow’s reaction.
Still a little stunned, Simon followed us inside while I marched up to the counter. The little girl looked at us and then at him. He was a horrible sight, for sure, head downcast, shuffling behind us. We got on either side of him, blocking curious onlookers.
“We’re going to get him a little something to eat”, I responded to her inquisitive eyes.
The food selection was limited, but we managed coffee, a muffin, some Protein bars for later and – – a banana. Simon wanted a banana.
“This seat has your name on it,” said Randy rather loudly.
By now all eyes were on the three of us. Obviously we were the subject of speculation. Simon was tenuous, but he sat.
As I continued to bring things back to our table, the two girls behind the counter couldn’t seem to do enough to help us. The one who waited on me directly began to cry.
“I love it when people do this kinda stuff” she blubbered. “You just don’t see it enough.” She kept going on with things like, “you guys are so great,” – – this is wonderful” and so forth.
Among other things, I told her that God has been good to us, and that we had to extend His love in return. She just stood there staring and shaking her head.
Simon’s vision wasn’t so good. He nearly knocked over my coffee. When he went for his muffin, I about gagged! Those hands! Up close! Gross! I hadn’t been able to wash mine yet either.
“Simon, they have a really nice bathroom – – why don’t you go wash up before you eat?” I offered.
He stopped, as if to process this monumental suggestion. “Right,” he mumbled. “Wash your hands before you eat – – that’s right – okay.”
Off he went. Several minutes later, I started to get concerned. No Simon. After ten minutes, I got queasy and the “what-ifs” pushed me to go check.
As I got up, the bathroom door burst open, and a clean little man with blue-gray eyes emerged. His clothing was righted – sleeves rolled up. The ratty coat was off and draped over his arm. Slicked-back hair was not unlike those wild-yet-tame haircuts of some of today’s Celebs. I stared.
What a change! Time and hunger had taken its toll, but one could see that this fellow, was once – – dare I say it – – even handsome. What had happened?
Simon grabbed his chair and sat up straight, this time reaching for his food with confidence.
When I told him that God had sent us to feed him, his eyes went back in time. I waited.
“I used to go to youth group – -” his voice faded. He was somewhere else. I prayed.
Randy had to run to pick up the truck before we got a ticket. Sitting and sipping, I stayed quietly with Simon. God was dealing with him, I could tell.
A couple of hecklers took the table nearby. Snide comments and looks were tossed in our direction. I asked God to cover us. Suddenly someone’s phone rang. The guy with the ‘attitude started in,
“I AM! …..the coffee shop….no …I will….no! Okay, I’ll come home!”
Those two men fairly bolted out of that place!
Evidently the “other half” on the other end of the phone wasn’t too happy. I got a big snicker out of that one! “Thanks Lord!”
Randy called me on my phone and it was time for me to leave Simon. I explained to him, gave him some final encouragement and a few dollars. The girls behind the counter were still watching. I charged them to make sure he had a place there until he was done. They said they would make sure.
Both Randy and pondered the situation, and, as always, I wish I could have done more. We prayed that the Lord would send a “Laborer-of- the-Harvest” to Simon. Later that evening, God began speaking to me about something. He reminded me that we acted for Simon, much like the Holy Spirit does for us.
We stood up for Simon, and because of our presence, he could enter into a place that he knew he could not go otherwise. He was welcomed because we stood at his side. He received service because we ordered, and paid and sat down at the table with him.
Simon humbly received our gift and followed our suggestions so he could be made acceptable to those others who were, and would be, eating in the establishment. By the time we had to leave, unless one looked very closely, they would not have been able to tell that Simon was a destitute, homeless individual.
His face and hands were washed and cleaned. He sat with shoulders high and erect, munching his food and drinking his coffee.
I hope he felt like a King – – at least for a while.
Thank God for the Precious Holy Spirit. He is our Re-reward – our rear-guard! He comes up beside us. The Bible calls Him our Paraclete: our Advocate – our Helper – our Comforter.
I continued to ponder. Goosebumps prickled my arms and neck. Paraclete also means, “The Summoner.”
How fitting. Hadn’t we summoned Simon to a better way? Hadn’t we stood by Him? Hadn’t we given him comfort and help?
How much MORE does The Precious Holy Spirit do for us and act in our behalf?
I am humbled . . . and amazed….
“Father God . . . thank You for your amazing gifts….and….bless ( empower) Simon. Draw him to the full, deep and clear knowledge of Salvation”