The glass door of Rhonda’s Travel Agency closes behind me. I squeeze the handle of my briefcase, feeling satisfied that I’d done a good job of explaining her new business owner’s insurance policy. I’m focused on getting back to the office, and my steps are staccato as I cross the sun-heated tarmac of the parking lot toward my car.
A tiny ripple of apprehension comes and goes as a young man approaches me. He’s probably in his late teens, has a beautiful smile, bushy hair, sparkling dark skin, and clear, sincere eyes. He looks harmless, but something hangs around his neck.
I look closer. A little sign reads: “I am deaf,” and something nearly illegible about contributing a dollar.
I smile at him and he stops, still looking at me with his beautiful smile as I move to pass him by—an encounter that could have been—ignored.
He’d held up his sign. Had that been a flicker of hope I’d seen in his eyes?
I didn’t turn back. The moment of choice was gone. I’d chosen to pass by.
My office chair creaks. I stare down at my interview notes seeing a blur, and my heart is pinched with guilt and regret. Why had I walked by? He looked perfectly healthy . . . but I can’t know that.
My actions and justifying them play tennis in my head.
Why does this bug me so much? I could have given him some money, and I had the time. Do two seconds matter?
Other people must sometimes ignore someone asking for money like that young man did—don’t they?
You can’t give everyone everything!
I sit and think and replay and pray, but there is no do-over. I’d given him nothing but a smile and a prayer. Maybe that was enough. Maybe I did as I was supposed to do. Maybe not.
My thoughts aren’t quieted. The scene with Jesus’ disciples, Peter and John, walking toward the Temple to pray drops into my mind. They could have passed the lame man by. They didn’t, and because they didn’t just pass by, many people became believers in Jesus.
A busy day over, the house is finally silent. In my cozy chair beside the open window, a soft night-breeze delivers the scent of gardenias and ruffles the pages of the magazine I’m reading:
“When we are caught off guard with the least preparation, some of the greatest things can happen. It’s important at all times that we be ready to act in the name of Jesus. That is why we have been given the name of Jesus to use.
“. . . Interruptions don’t have to be annoyances that hinder, but can be opportunities that bring glory to Christ and miracles to man.”
I lay Daily Blessing with its profound message, on my lap. I shouldn’t be amazed by happening to read this devotion after the “event” this morning—but I am.
There will be more of God’s children with needs. I’ll have more choices to make.
I pray there’s a difference in my awareness of people and their needs—and through the power of the Holy Spirit—in the precious name of Jesus, I won’t pass by again without reaching out and loving them in the way you show me, Lord. Everything I have is yours, to use to your glory. Help me always to be aware and ready, to be prepared to share with your children. Pour your love through me.
Have you ever passed by someone in need and regretted your choice not to stop?
Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” (Exodus 4:10-12)
Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom (Proverbs 2:3-6)
Read about Peter and John in Acts 3:1-10, 4:4