Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)
TITLE: Shopping for Jesus
By Alan Zimmerman
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Before she stepped out into the rain, she looked down and saw a dirty, disheveled man with ill-fitting clothes and a scraggly beard, sitting under cover just out of the rain’s wet grasp. He didn’t say a word, but looked up at her through soulful eyes as he held a small cardboard sign that said, “Merry Christmas.” She couldn’t believe that another person wanted a piece of her. Still, she opened her purse, no small feat with her umbrella and packages, and fished out a quarter. As she stooped down to give him the money, he grabbed the sleeve of her coat and quietly said, “Jesus loves you.” She gave him a startled look and he pulled her closer, only a few inches but she could feel his grip tighten. He said it again, “Jesus loves you. Right now. Right this minute.” She pulled away from him, dropping the quarter as she did, and hurried through the rain to her car.
Her heart was pounding as she opened the car door, threw the packages in, closed her umbrella, and got in the driver’s seat. She rested her head on the steering wheel and closed her eyes as she tried to catch her breath after getting away from this homeless bum who had just assaulted her. As she played the scene over in her mind, the attack gave way to what had actually happened. The only thing he had done was tell her that Jesus loved her. Tears streamed down her face as she thought about that. Right now, she wasn’t sure that anybody loved her, not even Jim. She hadn’t even thought about Jesus or God for longer than she could remember, not even at Christmastime. She sat up, wiped her tears away and said, “Jesus, if You love me, then I love You, too.”
At that moment, instead of a feeling of tranquility, she felt guilty. She was sitting in her expensive car, with a seat full of packages and she had just given a homeless man who had nothing a measly twenty five cents. She reached into her purse for a fifty dollar bill, opened the door again, and ignoring the rain, rushed back over to the store entrance. When she got there, the man was gone. She asked a store employee if he had seen the beggar who was just there a minute ago. The clerk responded, “Oh, he comes and goes. The manager doesn’t like him to sit out here. He’s not a beggar, though. He just rests for a while and then moves on.”
She tried to understand all that had happened, but it didn’t make any sense. She looked back to where her encounter with the man had taken place and she saw his “Merry Christmas” sign on the ground. She didn’t know why, but she bent over and picked it up. As she held it in her hands, she turned it over and read what was written on the other side. It said, “Jesus loves you. Right now.” She felt a lump in her throat as she whispered to herself, “I think He does.”
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