Photo from: www.featurepics.com.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet a young man named Richie. I was sitting in my car in a parking lot, waiting for my son to finish orientation for his new job. (Thank you, Lord, for giving him a job!)
I thought I'd be waiting for about half an hour... but it quickly turned into 2 hours. I had left my cell phone at home, so when my son tried to tell me he'd be longer, I had no idea.
I did, however, go to a payphone to call home and see if he had called... someone might have answered my phone. (By the way... do you have any idea how hard it is to find a payphone these days?) Anyway, no one answered and I had to leave a message. I also had no more change and there was no way for anyone to call me back. So, I returned to the parking lot to wait for my son.
I decided to make the best of it. I could read my Bible that I leave in my car. I also happened to have a book with me that I wanted to read. And I have my iPod filled with music and podcasts. I've learned to keep things in my car for times such as these.
I read for a while... the message was about being a woman of influence. It pointed out that we influence peoples lives whether we like it or not and whether we know it or not. It talked about having a mentor or being a mentor to someone else. I got a great message from it. That's when Richie came up to me.
At first, I was a little apprehensive. Here is this young man on a bike, in a not-so-great neighborhood, approaching a woman sitting alone in a near empty parking lot. My first thought... what's gonna happen?
He proceeded to tell me that he was homeless and the bag in his hand was all that he had to make a bed. He had come to this city following a girl. She shortly dumped him and now he has no way to get home to his family. He's 32 years old, he tells me. Seems that a 32 year old would know better, but I can't judge. I've done some pretty stupid things at many ages.
He asked me if I had any money to give him. I looked. But I knew I didn't have any. I don't usually carry cash. In that very moment... I had all these thoughts. What should I do? I don't just want to send him away. What CAN I do? All the words I had just read leaped back into my current thoughts. I can be an influence.
So... out of the ordinary for me, I said "I don't have any money, but if you're hungry, I'll go next door with you and buy you a meal." Now usually, I don't do this. Especially if I'm alone or it's just me with my kids. You just never know these days. But for some reason, I felt a peace.
So Richie said "Really? You'd really do that? Wow, you're such a blessing." And I drove next door to meet him. We walked inside and I asked him what he wanted. He said anything is fine, so I just ordered the usual fast food 'value meal'... super-sized.
He said again "You're such a blessing to me." I told him that God had blessed me so much and He wants us to pass it along. We sat down at a table and talked a bit more. I told him everything I knew about where to get help and even invited him to church. I told him to find a church. God knows his needs, loves him, and He will provide. I truly believe that.
Now... I can't say whether Richie was telling me the truth or not. I can't say he is or is not a drug addict or alcoholic. He didn't give off that impression, but I'm no expert. I don't know if he is from another state or if he's lived here all along. I have no idea.
But one thing I do know... he has a knowledge of God. Maybe he knew him as a child and has since turned away. Maybe some tragic thing has happened to turn him from God. Or maybe... like many of, he has a hard time walking with God in his everyday life.
Whatever the reason or circumstance, I'd like to ask anyone who reads this, to stop and say a prayer for Richie. Will you do that? I may never see this young man again, but I can still help him by praying for him. God's Word says in 1 John 5:14-15 that if we ask according to God's will, He hears us! Would you take the time to talk to God about this young man and help change his life? There is such power in prayer!
Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)