by Charles Robey
(Trussville. AL USA)

"If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land." (Deut (15:7-8, 10-11)

Here he is again. This man justifiably labeled a "street person" gracing the steps of my work place holding his customary sign. You know the one that says "will work for food." Now don't get too carried away by this scene and happen to retch.

Unlike many a street person upon the customary avoidance, the most common reaction probably being the most unpleasant gesture, this particular street person had a different reaction. When he was passed up, he would simply give a big smile, and turn his sign around displaying a familiar Scripture verse, fitting for the occasion.

There was something divinely different about this person. Something I just could not wrap my mind around. Nor could I remove his image from my memory. It was as if he was a divine appointment.

Then it happened, as if by divine design or fortunate destiny this unidentifiable street person was nowhere to be found. It was rumored by way of the company janitor however, that this poor soul as, he put it, had graced the neighborhood funeral parlor. And as a kind gesture, the janitor was taking up a chartable collection for this unfortunate gentleman. Now feeling sorry for his final succumb we all pitched in our fair share.

For some unknown reason, I felt led to at least stop by and briefly pay my respects, as it was on my way home. And so I did. Upon entering the funeral home, I seemed to suddenly be surrounded by some sort of aberration or divine appointment. I was instantly welcomed by the most unusual character. He too was clad as a street person.

Thus calling me out by my name, he greeted me by saying, "Good evening Sir. I've been waiting for you. He wanted you to have this note."

"Wait a minute," I said, "Just who are you? I've never seen you before."

"Never you mind, that's not important now. The note may help explain my presence." And with this response, he mysteriously disappeared into the crowd with no other explanation.

Again, as if by divine direction, I seemed to be guided into the viewing room where I got the surprise of my life. Was my unconscious mind playing a trick on me? Was it a dream? Was it a vision? Or was it a reality?

The scene was nothing short of amazing. The room was filled with street people all dressed in the customary beggar's clothing. Are these people spirits or what? They all had the appearance of humans but I could see right through them. Each was holding the same type street signs as did the deceased homeless man, displaying an appropriate Scripture verse. Surely this was no ordinary street person.

Not saying a word, they were just sitting around in respect. I hope he will forgive me, but I just have to get out of here. I just can't take it.

Then, getting into my vehicle, my curiosity got the best of me. I had to read his note.

"Here I go again, waking up to another day of the same “Same old same old.” Oh I know “another day, another dollar.” But in my life, it’s waking to another day, another penny on the sidewalk of anxiety. Another day of money being dropped in my bucket of despair."

"A day of begging, then returning home to my anticipated lonely abode, slumping down in my Frazier Dad's old recliner, the one held together by duct tape, and brewing over solving the many world's problems. Is this old world in a mess or not, that is the question? This I have been trying to figure out since entering into my eternal retirement years."

"Nonetheless, bad memories are never forgotten. And scars will always remain a part of such memories. We all have choices to be made. We never get to old to cry."

"You see, we each put our own spin on what it means to be free. To be free, one may not have the same needs or wants that others may have. As we all put a different twist on our wants or needs. Thus, the sign "I will work for food," as the apostle Peter writes. (I Peter 1:18)"

Then the note ended with a well placed related poem.

Walking the street one day
Much to my utmost dismay
Finding an elderly man there
Who just didn’t seem to care
Finding a women with child
Her needs were not so mild
Many a mood not to share
Giving out a baseless stare
Now just to sit in the park
While the others make a mark
Just hoping for another day.
To either go work or to play
Taking a book from my pocket
Hoping my eyes are in socket
The unknown left to the Maker
The evils all left to the breaker
Checking my cup as I leave
Hoping for coins to retrieve

And for some unknown reason, the note ended in a Bible verse that has plagued me ever since my relationship with this homeless guy came about.

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." (Hebrews 13:2)

Wow, what a sermon! Was this all simple a dream? Was it a vision? Or was it a divine reality? One thing for sure, I'll never again pass up another homeless street beggar. I'll do my part, regardless if they do theirs or not.

"Pastor, pastor are you there? Please pick up the phone. I need desperately to talk. (I John 1:8-9) Amen!

Author's Postscript

“While women weep, as they do now,
I'll fight
While little children go hungry, as they do now,
I'll fight
While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now,
I'll fight
While there is a drunkard left,
While there is a poor lost girl upon the streets,
While there remains one dark soul without the light of God,
I'll fight - I'll fight to the very end!”

(General William Booth, The Salvation Army)

It is said that at the end of the Civil War in 1865, President Lincoln visited the founding Salvation Army General William Booth, telling him that his war had just ended, but that General Booth's spiritual war had just begun. He was referring to the inception of The Salvation Army in 1865.

I recently viewed a TV documentary on the escalation of America's major cities' homeless generation. I have no idea of the reason for this intensification. However, I do know it's a wide-open ministry, a home mission at best.

About 553,000 people nationwide were homeless on a single night in January 2018, according to a report released Tuesday by the Department of Housine and Urban Development. That is a 0.3 percent increase from HUD’s finding last year for its annual report on homelessness, which looks at nationwide trends using local data from a given day in January.

So, let's go to work, Church. (Matthew 28:19-20) (Acts 1:8)

(Proverbs 14:31) (Philippians 4:19) (Psalm 10:17)
Conclusion (From Internet, whatchristianswanttoknow.com)

"If you know of a homeless center near you, why not offer the hope through the eternal, living Bread of Life Jesus Christ and offer them a drink from the Living Water which will never run dry. This well never runs out…this bread never fails and it is available for all who come to Christ in faith in and trust in Him."

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