A Cup of Water or a Bus Ticket

Posted: July 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

I knew immediately by the sight of him, he was homeless and most likely addicted to something.

He rode a much used black bike and his unruly dreadlocks strained against the dirty green bandanna tied tightly on his head

I could have let him pass. He did not even notice me standing at the top of the church steps. He could have just kept going his way. So could I

I had work to do. I was the keynote speaker at this conference. I had to go over my notes. There were any numbers of things I needed to be doing. I was here to teach people how to love people. I was going to explain that evangelism is not something you do, it’s something you live.

I was going to explain to them that they need to be the hand to help others up. So yeah, I was busy.

Dreadlocks would pass in a second and be just a soon forgotten memory. Besides, what difference did I think I could really make anyway? I was surrounded by hundreds if not thousands of down and outers here in Denver.

As Dreadlocks almost reached the point of no return, something burst out of me. What was that? Did I just say something?

I must have, because Dreadlocks looked right at me and hit the brakes. I did say something. At least I think I did. Maybe it was God using my voice to reach one of his children.

I realized as I walked down the steps that I had yelled, “Hey, we have coffee and donuts.” I met Dreadlocks at the curb. I shook his stained hand.

He immediately refused the coffee and donuts, but started quoting scripture and preaching to me. Not as a drunk or drug addict. He was more familiar with the bible than most Christians I know.

He shared with me how he had been robbed and beaten. He turned out his cheek to show me the injury he suffered to the inside of his mouth. They stole his clothes, his phone and a little piece of him. He told me he was homeless.

I asked his where he was from? He said Kansas City Missouri.

I asked if he had kids? He smiled and held up two fingers. “I got two daughters and two granddaughters.”

Suddenly I did not see some homeless guy but in his place, a proud grandfather. I asked him why he was in Denver? He said to his shame, he had come to smoke the legal marijuana. He said it was the worst mistake of his life.

He told me he was 46 years old and had been in the carpenter’s union back in Missouri for over 20 years.

I asked him if he was back in Missouri, would he be homeless? He said, “Of course not.” He said he had tried heroin 3 months ago and died. He came to with paramedics standing over him.

He said he had not touched a drug since but that he had a drinking problem.

I asked him why not just go home? He said he couldn’t because he did not have the money. I asked him would he go home if he could? He said, “Absolutely.”

I asked him how much was a bus ticket? He said, “$160.00.”

I asked him his name? “David.” I told him if he came back at 2pm when I was speaking, I would get him a ticket home. He was overcome. He just could not believe it was true.

I assured him it was true. He rode away smiling. “I’ll be back.” He yelled over his shoulder.

I shared with my hosts what I was going to do. They asked, “What about his bike? Is he going to take it on the bus?” I didn’t know but assured them we would work it out.

David showed up at 1pm He sat in the back of the church and cried. He told those around him he was overwhelmed by the feeling of God’s love through us.

When I was done speaking I asked David where his bike was. He said he saw a homeless man with bad feet walking slowly. He gave him the bike.

After the conference we drove David to the bus station in Denver. I purchased the ticket. We gave him $60.00 to eat on the trip. We prayed with him. We hugged. Hew said he loved us.

David asked me if he gave me a dreadlock to remember him, would I keep it? I said, “Absolutely.” But in truth, I won’t need a dreadlock to remember David.

He could not thank me enough. He asked, “How can I ever thank you?”

My friend and driver told him, “Don’t ever let me see you back in Denver under these circumstances.” We all laughed. I told him, “Go to detox, get your job back and be the best father and grandfather you can be.”

He promised he would. He was not going to waste a second chance. I believe him.

I could have stood silently on the steps. I could have let the homeless guy with the crazy head full of dreadlocks just pass by.

What difference could I possibly make? There are so many like him.

For David, I made all the difference in the world. I gave David back to his two daughters and his two precious granddaughters. I gave two daughters and two granddaughters their father and grandfather back.

I sent the prodigal son and father home. God sent me on a 14 hour round trip to let David know He loved him and I was almost too busy with the work of Christ to do the work of Christ. To be his hands and heart.

The experienced changed me as much if not more than it did David. I pray I never get too busy to be Jesus. I pray you never do either.

I leave you with these:

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrew 13:1-2)

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ (Matthew 25:34-36)

Thanks for the dreadlock David

And the lesson

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