Wow. I am so enjoying this ‘guest blogger’ spot here on my blog. I have had quite a few submissions and am excited every week when it comes time to share one with you.
This week it’s the turn of Angela from Vanity of Vanities. Angela has an incredible testimony and writes from the heart. I love reading her blog and am so grateful that she decided to share this very personal story with us.
Over to you, Angela:
The Day Jesus Walked Up to My Car
I have posted this story twice previously: once on my old MySpace blog and once on my current Vanity of Vanities blog. It was such a spiritual event in my life that, when Peter asked for a guest post, I couldn’t help but think that I needed to share it again. It’s been spruced up here and there, but it’s essentially the same story. I hope you feel a taste of the conviction God heaped upon me.
To those of you who have been, have you ever noticed that there are a TON of homeless people in Miami? I guess it’s the place to be if you find yourself without a roof over your head – the beautiful weather can’t be beat (except for the humidity)! But you know what? Although I sympathize with the fact that some of the homeless individuals have mental health issues, I’ve always felt a little bothered that they’re at EVERY intersection begging for money. I’m just going to be honest: it’s annoying and sometimes scary. The bottom line is that you don’t know their intentions, but you have heard horror-stories…
After some time in that vagrancy-laden city, I’d been feeling kind of bad about my lack of compassion. (The Bible is just full of annoying passages about caring for the needy.) Therefore, I decided I’d turn over a new leaf. Anytime I saw someone working for the Homeless Voice organization, I would give a buck or two. They may still steal out of the bucket or whatever, but I just felt a little better about it being an organization where the homeless were working. (When you donate money, you get their publication that has news about the homeless population in the area, as well as other handy tips just about life.)
One day soon, I got just such an opportunity. Upon my arrival home, I collapsed onto my couch a little amused in anticipation of reading the little stories in their little paper. But the stories were not little at all; rather they related heart-wrenching tales about homeless children who “lived” all around me and were turned away from shelters. After muttering the obligatory, “That’s just so sad,” and thinking a half-prayer, I turned to the last page. Staring back at me was a young man with long, scraggly hair and a scruffy beard. He wore the stereotypical sign about his neck lamenting his lack of food. But this sign was different. It simply stated, “Will work for loaves and fishes.” Then my eyes caught the caption, “How can you worship a homeless man on Sunday, and ignore one on Monday?” Wow. That’s pretty good.
I didn’t feel terribly bothered by this; I thought it was very clever. I snipped it out of the paper and put it by my computer. There was no stinging conviction in my heart whatsoever, because the paper in my hand was evidence of my stunning generosity.
Some three days later, I was on my way to work a few minutes later than usual. I was pulling up to what’s normally a busy intersection. Although this is an intersection of three streets, and it is usually semi-dangerous, it was noticeably empty on this morning – empty except for a mis-buttoned flannel shirt with a hairy belly and very dirty jeans sticking out of the bottom. I could smell him in my mind’s nose even though my windows were rolled up. Watching him stagger around somewhat aimlessly, a mixture of anxiety and disgust tightened in my chest. So, I stopped my car several yards back from the intersection to keep my distance. As I was checking my hair in the mirror, my peripheral vision noticed him walking toward my window. Without turning my head, I let my foot off the brake enough to inch the car forward to pass him, hoping he’d get the hint. (That’s a not-so-nice trick I picked up in Miami.)
He didn’t. Seeing his belly swaggering up to the car, I quickly glanced up at the light – still red. I thought, “God, he’s probably going to ask me for money, but he seems drunk and I don’t know what he’d do with it. And what if he’s really crazy?” My eyes darted around, and I noticed that I was still alone at the intersection with this man. And the light was still red. My anxiety heightened as his stomach stopped literally six inches from my face. Keeping my eyes locked on the red light, I waved my left hand in a stern “go away” fashion. And he did. And the light turned green. And God slapped me across the face as I made my way through the intersection.
See, I had been feeling pretty good about myself as far as compassion is concerned. I knew I gave away more money than most people – to the church and to the working homeless. I was even so sure of myself that I cut out that little picture of my homeless Jesus and kept it in agreement with the sentiment. And then I’m driving along, completely self-absorbed, and Jesus walks up to my car absolutely out of the blue. I never even let Him say a single word to me. I never even saw His face. I refused to connect enough humanity with that sloppy, dirty clothing to even give him the dignity to look Him in the eye. I still, ultimately, don’t have a clue what He was going to say to me. I waved him off like you’d shoo away a fly.
I knew immediately after driving through the intersection that He was Jesus and that I was a failure. But, even though I realized my error within a block of where He was standing, I didn’t go back. It literally didn’t occur to me; I was late to work.
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’”
Thank you, Angela. I can’t count the number of times Jesus has approached me and I’ve pretended not to notice him!
If you’d like to read more from Angela, visit her blog at http://vanityofvanities.wordpress.com/
If you’d like to be a guest blogger here, please let me know through a comment on this post or through the contact page!