I saw him every day. He would hold his sign up that said, Veteran, Cancer Survivor, Please help. I passed him up many a day without paying attention, but one day recently while waiting at the light I decided to give him a dollar. He was a haggard looking fellow that looked to me to be about 70 years old with the years of homelessness definitely taking their toll on his weathered face. After that first gift, I made it a daily ritual to share with him something as I made my commute home. There were times all I had on me was a $5 or a $20, but I gladly shared with him as I had decided he would be a daily act of charity for me. I took a blue sharpie and wrote the word “Grace” on every bill before I gave it to him. I am not exactly sure what my plan was; I guess I was planning on a step by step of introducing Christ to him.
We would converse from time to time-sharing small talk waiting for the light to turn green as I would enter the freeway. From the 2nd or 3rd time that I gave him money I told him, “every time I see you, I will have something for you, you can thank grace”. Looking at the bill, ”who is grace” he asked? Before I could answer him, the light changed and I was on my way. For the next few times it was my dollar to his hand without conversation until about two weeks ago when I stopped at the usual spot much later than usual and he was still standing there.
With the usual traffic nonexistent because of the late hour, I sat through 2 or 3 lights while we had a conversation. Before I tell you about grace I said, tell me about you, I never got your name. He told me his name was Michael, “like the angel you know”. I asked him how long he had been out here. He replied “longer than I care to remember”.
He then said something to me that caught my attention. He said to me “I used to be like you –nice car, nice life -you know I never thought life would end up for me this way”. I sat there stunned not knowing how to respond. I sat there not realizing that traffic had now gathered behind me and as the light changed horns began to honk as I pulled away, I quickly quipped to him “grace can change your life”.
That was last week. That was the last time I would ever get to talk to him. Not seeing him for the last week or so, I pulled my car into a nearby parking lot and asked the other guy that stands on the other side of the street if he knew why Michael had not been there for the last week or so.” He’s gone – Heart attack, I think” he said, “that’s what I heard”.
I walked back to my car feeling like someone in my family had passed away. I sat in my car and pulled the dollar bill from the center arm rest compartment and looked at it. It said grace across the face. I sat there staring at the bill for quite some time. As I sit here writing this, the ending is much different than I had anticipated. I guess I should have been more direct in sharing the gospel thinking that he would always be there and there was no urgency. I guess that I should have pulled my car into the parking lot next to the street and took more time to share the love of Christ than just a few moments passing a dollar bill, waiting for a light to change. I thought I was doing a good thing and it was something I truly felt good about every day–until today. Now I don’t feel good about it at all.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 Working together with God, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
I can assure you that the next time someone says to me,” you know I never thought life would end up for me this way”; no matter what I am doing; no matter where I am at; no matter who I am with-I will stop everything that I am doing and immediately share the truth about the grace of God in Christ Jesus that has wonderfully changed my life. I now realize with a pain in my heart that may never go away that salvation is not something that one can put off until tomorrow. We are not promised tomorrow. We are not even promised one minute from now. All we have is now.
Ephesians 2:5 Even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!
- God’s Standards are Low – Grace in Bible Verses (darrellcreswell.wordpress.com)
- HELP! I am not sure I am saved…I may just be another false convert. (atwistedcrownofthorns.com)
- God Disciplines Us By Grace (challies.com)