Waking on Sunday morning, I found that eyes opened right up which is rather unusual, because during the work week they fight me like its a prize fight. They scream just a few more seconds. As I rolled in one sweeping motion towards the open DVD drive on my computer – I grabbed the DVD that had burned all night and slipped it gently into the waiting DVD player hooked to the TV. It was time. Dun-Dun-Dun — it works. Okay, time to burn the remainder of the Baptism DVD's and then its off to church.
With the coffee securely in my hands, I uploaded the awaiting video to YouTube, dress and jump in the car bound for ABF. Halfway down the vacant streets of the San Fernando Valley, I realize I need gas or I certainly won't be able to make it to church, let alone anywhere else. So I stop for some cash, then drive across the street to the gas station and the awaiting Starbucks. . . and that, that is, where it happened.
I'm sure you've felt it at some point in your life. That tug of the Holy Spirit that says, “Here's an opportunity to bless someone” – its right in front of your eyes. As I make a quick turn around the corner, there he is – sitting cross-legged with his head down adjacent to the double doors leading into Starbucks. With his dark-skin and tattoos clearly visible, a life perhaps of hard times and hard labor and decisions he rather forget, he sat. His Dodger cap was pulled down over his graying hair, a black bandana swung from his neck to wipe whatever sweat was there. He looked like a shower was something that he hadn't experienced in days, maybe even a week. And there he was sitting outside a Starbucks in a wealthy suburban neighborhood, minding his own business, not asking for anything, yet smiling through pain. And there I was heading for the door in my green shorts and Agape polo shirt and then. . .our eyes met.
I gave that recognizing look and half-smile as I quickly darted for the door, not wanting to be bothered. And as I stood in line, the prompting of the Spirit said, “why don't you ask him he wants a drink“. The internal debate raged. God, I don't have time. I have to get my Venti Hot Chocolate with whipped cream. I, then have to get gas in my car. Then I have to go to church and sit in the nice seats in the air conditioned sanctuary. Someone else will take care of it. Again, the prompting came and each time I had an excuse. I don't have time. I don't want to be bothered. Someone else will extend help.
Even as I stood at the gas pump and looked at this man. . .I still didn't follow the prompting. As I exited the gas station store, a man in his late fifties, well dressed with white pants and a nice suit coat, bent down with an outstretched hand and handed the man a cup of coffee. And that is how I remember, a blessing missed. An opportunity for help abandoned. A realization that I made a mistake.
I should have listened to the Holy Spirit. I missed out on an opportunity, because I wouldn't step out of line and ask if that man wanted a cup of coffee or a danish or breakfast sandwich. You can better believe that when the next prompting comes, I will obey. May you learn from my mistakes so that you can grown in your faith.
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