The best compliment I have ever received came from a homeless woman. At the time, I did not appreciate her words as I do now. Recently, God reminded me of this seemingly “forgettable” interaction that happened years ago, and I now cherish her kind words. Let me set the stage for you….I was in my early-20’s, had just graduated from college, and had begun my new career in Abilene, Texas. During my previous college years, I had tested boundaries and strayed away from my relationship with God. I was raised in a Christian home, and that foundation was deep in my heart, but the newfound independence was a drastic change for this small town girl. I had gotten into the party scene, and I held my relationship with God at a distance. (Thank goodness God never lets go of us even though we may stray from Him!) Anyway, I had moved to Abilene for my first professional job as a social worker. God led me to a wonderful church, and I was at “home” and joyfully reunited with Him.
One day, I was running errands (well, I was actually shopping) and had ventured into a part of town I was not very familiar with. As I found my destination, I made my way to the empty parking lot and began to get out of my car. Out of no where, I saw a frail, seemingly homeless, woman approaching me. I was slightly alarmed as I had not noticed her when I arrived, and she was approaching me rather quickly. She asked me for money.
Let me pause here….whenever someone asks for money, I always ask God if/what I should give. Many people have opinions about whether or not you should give money to the homeless or poverty stricken for various reasons and perceived stereotypes. As Christians, I find this a simple task of obedience. After all, if I obey God and give as he instructs, then I have done my part. God says, ” Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.” Deuteronomy 15:10.
I searched for cash and quickly handed over what I felt led to give. I do not remember how much I had or how much I gave her, in fact, this interaction was quiet and short-lived. She was thankful, and we parted ways. But then, as I was walking away, she said, “You love Jesus don’t you?”. I turned around, surprised to see she was still standing near my car. I did not know what to say except a simple, “Yes I do.” She turned and walked away, and so did I.
What an amazing moment that could have been easily missed or forgotten! What a wonderful God we serve that His love is identified in a simple act of giving. And what an amazing compliment to know that God’s love is evident in our lives through acts of kindness and obedience, no words needed! I simply cannot imagine a higher compliment than being recognized as “loving Jesus” by complete strangers. I am not perfect, I make many mistakes. But even through my mistakes and imperfections, I pray that I will always be seen as someone who loves Jesus. There is a song by Hawk Nelson entitled “Words,” that states, “I don’t want to say a word unless it points the world back to You.” Let’s try to take that a step further with our actions. Actions speak louder than words, right?
Prayer: Lord, I know that I am not perfect and I forgive me when I do not act with grace and love. Help me to become more like you giving love and grace to others through my words and actions. Help me to be a blessing to all I meet today. Amen