Today, I had an hour to blow before a product I purchased was ready for me to pick up. I ran over to Petco to get some dog food for my huge dog. I knew I still had 55 minutes to blow after that so I was going to run to Starbucks and chill on my laptop.
As I was backing out of the parking space I prayed, “God let my hour be useful for you – let me run into somebody that I could minister to and be a shining light for you.”
I put my truck in “Drive” and began to move forward and made eye contact with a Hispanic man that was walking right in front of me in the parking lot. I waved him on and he moved the direction I didn’t expect him to like he wanted to talk to me.
This is right after I prayed and asked God to let me connect with someone and minister to them. hmmm…. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.
I rolled down my window and talked with the guy. He asked how far away another town was, because he was expecting friends to come from there and pick him up. I told him how far away it was, and then he asked for money for food – he hadn’t eaten all day.
Okay so I’m not trying to paint myself as a Saint or something. Of course I was skeptical. Is this guy just trying to get a freebie? Is he just some illegal alien leeching off the system? But especially since I had just prayed for God to do something like this, I took the bait – cautiously.
“Sure. I’ll buy you food – but I won’t give you money.”
That didn’t phase him one bit. He said, “Okay, that’s great!”
So we just drove over to McDonald’s and I bought him a value meal and sat and had a conversation with him. More than I thought possible I spoke to him in Spanish, believe it or not. His name was Romero. Born in Texas, raised in Mexico. I asked him a million questions about where he was from, how he got here, where his family was, what he’s doing here, etc. I will admit for the first 5 minutes I was expecting him to stumble over his answers and get caught in a lie. But he didn’t. I really believe he was telling the truth. I really enjoyed meeting him. In the discussion I became aware that he was nominally “catholic” (like many Hispanics who grew up in Mexico), but from my perspective his religion wasn’t any deeper than “his parents were catholic, so he must be, too.” And that’ not really anything at all.
Romero was someone I wanted to help, and in this situation I considered him a Person of Peace. That’s what Jesus called it. The idea is that wherever we go, we should be ready for a person of peace, someone that shows some receptivity to the gospel. These are generally people that are going through a challenge, crisis, or change. When we encounter someone that might be a person of peace, we should bring up the Gospel in a small way to see if they’re interested — which really isn’t that difficult considering how applicable the Gospel is in situations like these. If they aren’t interested or show no signs of receptivity, forget it (shake the dust off your feet). (A person of peace is often someone that you already know, but suddenly becomes more receptive to the gospel. My situation today is my situation. I kinda have to be more outgoing if I expect to find a Person of Peace because I work in a church. Your person of peace might be some guy in the desk next to you who is going through a divorce or some other challenge, crisis, or change. If you want more examples of people of peace in the Bible – check this out).
So there I sat with Romero. I told him that I know God loves me, and I believed God loves him. I wanted to demonstrate the love that God has for him by purchasing his meal, “This food represents the love that God has for you.” (I said it in Spanish! You should have heard me habla!)
Keeping in mind the discipleship process discussed in my previous blog, I believed I was a part of God’s bigger plan for Romero. We said our goodbyes and I told him I’d pray for him. And we left.
And then I came here to this custom coffee shop to review it! In hindsight, I really wish I had prayed for Romero right there before leaving. He shared a hundred things I could have prayed for with him. No reason I shouldn’t have.
I’m living a mission! Join me!