Saturday, February 26, 2011

It was hard to tell ...

I’m guessing that he was somewhere between the ages of thirty-six and eighty-four. He was engaged in a rather heated conversation pausing only to open the door for each Starbucks patron. As I approached, I noticed that his animated verbal exchange was directed into an empty palm. He had no phone; he had no one to respond. This lonely man’s conversation vanished into a weathered and soiled hand.

He wore several layers of clothing - not the least of which was, what might at one time might have been, a white boa. I am guessing that he was not aware of the puddle of water he was standing in. He probably didn’t even notice the wicking effect of the newspaper that over-stuffed his size eleven shoes into which his size seven feet wandered.

Nevertheless, there he stood; a sentinel at the local Starbucks coffee shop. I’d never seen him before. His presence was obviously disturbing to some of the guests. The young baristas were visibly unsettled by his presence.

He held the door open for me careful to look away so as not to make eye contact. I seemed to notice a slight toothless grin.

Standing in line, observing each and every person’s response to this poor soul, I could not help but wonder. Who was this person’s first grade teacher? What did he aspire to be when he grew up? What were his parents like? Did he have siblings? Did he play outside, go on family trips, sing and dance in days past? Was he a forgotten veteran; was he simply - forgotten? As far as I could tell he was a soul known only to God.

I found myself moving deliberately to the door, leaving my coveted place in line. “Excuse me sir”, I interrupted. “Could I buy you a cup of coffee?” I was wrong about him; his quiet grin of appreciation revealed two teeth. “Why, yes sir! Yes sir indeed!” he responded. He told me he just wanted a small cup, black; no cream or sugar. I ordered a small coffee, black, and a breakfast sausage sandwich.

I gave him his coffee and his sandwich. He simply smiled and slightly bowed.

I returned to the line; he returned to opening the doors for patrons, collecting shopping carts and to his his private conversation.

A passage from the Scriptures came to mind as I sat there with my coffee:

“Then the King will say to those at His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father [that is, you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation], inherit- receive as your own - the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For when I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me. I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care; I was in prison and you came to see Me. Then the just and upright will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You? And the King will reply to them, Truly, I tell you, in as far as you did it to one of the least [in estimation of men] of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” - Matthew 25:34-40

I purchased a cup of coffee - and a sausage sandwich for God today, and I was filled. What opportunity will He extend to you today to reach out to someone and by so doing feel His loving touch?

Be watchful; His opportunities are everywhere!

God bless!


  1. I tried to read this outloud to Chuck but could not ... too (very) moving. Thank you for this writing this morning. Excellent ~ honestly!

  2. Wonderful story, so many people judge others by their appearance, you do not and I love you for that. You blessed that man with your non judgemental kindhearted way, and you blessed me by sharing this with us, and who knows....maybe you served an angel unaware...? Do you think?
    I know you blessed God...:-).

  3. Now I remember this, apparently i did see this in February...thanks for sharing it again. Love you.