I saw him on the sidewalk as I stopped at the traffic signal. He held up a sign that read, "Veteran. Hungry. Will work for food." Our eyes connected, and I fumbled for a dollar. Graciously he said, "Thank you sir, and may God bless you."
No names were exchanged. No introductions were made. The thing I remember was the blank gaze in his eyes. You have seen it before.
I proceeded on my way and the busyness of the day erased my brief encounter with this homeless man. He is a person - someone's child, possibly a husband, a father, a brother, an uncle. I had many questions about his military service. In which branch of the armed forces did he serve? Did he ever encounter battle during war? If so, which one? Or was his life a personal war filled with disappointments, substance abuse or "emotional leprosy?" As the day faded, so did his face.
All around us are homeless men and women. I cringe at how they are treated at times. Many believe it is a waste of time and money to try to help the homeless. If I were to listen to the crowd I might agree. But Jesus stopped for the blind, the deaf, the leper and those with broken lives.
Are we so clean and sophisticated we have lost sight of the lonely hearts and broken lives around us? I do not know about you, but I pray for the Father to fill my heart with compassion for these people; for all people. You see, my uncle was a homeless person on the streets in Panama and lived a life of hopelessness. I was a young boy when he died on the streets of Colon, my hometown, but I remember it vividly.
Let me encourage you to respond to the words of Christ, and care with compassion for those least fortunate. Won't you pray for God to be real in their lives? Let California Southern Baptists be counted as righteous on judgment day so that we might hear the voice of Jesus say, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me."