Daniel

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- Daniel

Post by Christ is My Life! on Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:45 pm

Daniel

It was
an unusually cold day for the month of May. Spring had arrived and
everything was alive with color. But a cold front from the North had
brought winter's chill back to Indiana. I sat with two friends in the
picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town
square. The food and the company were both especially good that day. As
we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street.



There,
walking into town was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly
goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, "I will
work for food. My heart sank. I brought him to the attention of my
friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus
on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief. We continued
with our meal, But his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal
and went our separate ways.



I had
errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward
the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange
visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call some
response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some
purchases at a store and got back in my car. Deep within me, the Spirit
of God kept speaking to me: "Don't go back to the office until you've
at least driven once more around the square." And so, with some
hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third
corner. I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the storefront
church, going through his sack. I stopped and looked, Feeling both
compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on.



The
empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an
invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town's
newest visitor. "Looking for the pastor?" I asked. "Not really," he
replied, "just resting." "Have you eaten today?" "Oh, I ate something
early this morning." "Would you like to have lunch with me?" "Do you
have some work I could do for you?" "No work," I replied. "I commute
here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch."
"Sure," he replied with a smile. As he began to gather his things, I
asked some surface questions. "Where you headed?" "St. Louis." "Where
you from?" "Oh, all over; mostly Florida." "How long you been walking?"
"Fourteen years," came the reply.



I knew
I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same
restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond
his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an
eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to
reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, "Jesus is The Never Ending
Story," and then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough
times early in life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the
consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the
country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on
with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A
concert, he thought. He was hired, but the tent would not house a
concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more
clearly. He gave his life over to God.



"Nothing's
been the same since, " he said, "I felt the Lord telling me to keep
walking, and so I did, some 14 years now." "Ever think of stopping?" I
asked. "Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me. But
God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That's what's in my
sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His
Spirit leads." I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He
was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned
inside for a moment and then I asked: "What's it like?" "What?" "To
walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your
sign?" "Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make
comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a
gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became
humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change
people's concepts of other folks like me." My concept was changing,
too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the
door, he paused. He turned to me and said, "Come ye blessed of my
Father and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was
hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a
stranger and you took me in." I felt as if we were on holy ground.
"Could you use another Bible?" I asked. He said he preferred a certain
translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his
personal favorite. "I've read through it 14 times," he said. "I'm not
sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church and see." I
was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he
seemed very grateful.



"Where
you headed from here?" "Well, I found this little map on the back of
this amusement park coupon." "Are you hoping to hire on there for a
while?" "No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under
that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next."



He
smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his
mission. I drove him back to the town square where we'd met two hours
earlier, and as we drove, It started raining. We parked and unloaded
his things. "Would you sign my autograph book?" he asked. "I like to
keep messages from folks I meet."



I wrote
in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my
life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of
scripture from Jeremiah, "I know the plans I have for you," Declared
the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you. To Plans give you
a future and a hope." "Thanks, man," he said. "I know we just met and
we're really just strangers, but I love you." "I know," I said, "I love
you, too." "The Lord is good." "Yes, He is. How long has it been since
someone hugged you?" I asked. "A long time," he replied.



And so
on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I
embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his
things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, "See you in the
New Jerusalem." "I'll be there!" was my reply. He began his journey
again.



He
headed away with his sign dangling from his bedroll and pack of Bibles.
He stopped, turned and said, "When You see something that makes you
think of me, will you pray for me?" "You bet," I shouted back, "God
bless." "God bless."



And
that was the last I saw of him. Late that evening as I left my office,
the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I
bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the
emergency brake, I saw them... a pair of well-worn brown work gloves
neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought
of My friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night
without them.



I
remembered his words: "If you see something that makes you think of me,
will you pray for me?" Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office.
They help me to see the world, and its people in a new way, and they
help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for
his ministry. "See you in the New Jerusalem," he said. Yes, Daniel, I
know I will...
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