His eyes looked empty as he stared out the window. I watched him, curious as to what his plight might be.
The man had wandered into my office at work. Wearing a light coat and running shoes, he was grossly underdressed for the -30 degree winter weather we were having that day. He was cold, he told my coworker and I, as he sat down in the front office chair. ďJust need to warm up for a bit,Ē he remarked, gladly accepting the cup of coffee offered to him.
Grateful for the warmth, he began to engage us in conversation, mentioning that he had just been released from jail a few weeks previous. Now he was on his way back to the jail to find his glasses he thinks he lost there. Then, as if he felt he had said enough, he fell silent, gazing out the window, deep in his own thoughts.
I continued to work, not wanting to embarrass him by gawking, but occasionally stealing a glance his way. Questions began to run through my mind - where was he from? Did he have a home? Why was he in jail? If ever there was someone who needed hope, it was this man. I wondered what circumstances had brought him to this place in his life.
Yet even as these questions were forming in my mind, the man suddenly got up, thanked us for the coffee and went on his way. And although there were words I had wanted to share, I could see that this small act of hospitality had encouraged his heart. Seeds of hope had been planted.
Thinking about this reminded me of another man I met several years previous. It happened when my husband and I were driving home from church one Sunday afternoon. There he was, just wandering along the street. He had a long beard, tattered clothes and running shoes that looked like they needed to be replaced. As we continued to drive by, I suddenly felt compassion well up within me for this stranger. We were getting closer to home and I knew I couldnít contain these feelings any longer. Tears now beginning to form, I shouted at my husband to stop the car. Seeing this drifter in a helpless state, I knew we had to do something.
We ended up going back and picking up this man, offering him a home cooked meal to which he quickly accepted. Sitting down with him at the dinner table, I noticed that he ate like he hadnít eaten in weeks. He was grateful for the meal and even more so as we brought out a spare pair of new runners his size to replace his worn out ones. My heart was warmed by the fact that in some small way we were able to help this visitor. Yet the greater miracle was that before he left, this man prayed to receive Jesus as Lord of his life. Hope was planted that day in his heart.
I canít help but think of how itís often the simple things in life that plant seeds of hope in peopleís lives. It may be a cup of coffee, an atmosphere of warmth, words of encouragement, or a meal offered to a hungry soul. The Bible tells us that whatever we are to do in word or in deed, weíre to do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. You donít know what that person needs to hear that day or even what small act of kindness may be needed to give him hope.
As believers, we have the HOPE found in the Gospel that can be sown into others by word or deed, every day. My heartís desire is to live my life as an expression of that hope Ė the HOPE this world is longing for.
Kelli, what a beautiful testimony! That is truly being His hands extended. Matt.25:40-Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, YOU DID IT TO ME. Blessings, Sharon