Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Soldiers Of Christ Arise"1 (Lyrics)
On a recent visit to New York City, my husband Reg and I were in Times Square, and we saw an older woman protecting a pile of cardboard boxes. She was homeless and dressed in many layers of clothes, with a hat on, which reminded us of someone from the Andes. We sat there on fancy, red patio chairs and took in all the people taking selfies and all the glitter and glamour around us.
The woman approached us, and we started to chat. I said, "I detect a British accent." She said, "That's right." She asked where we were from, and we told her. She said, "I have been to Canada, to Toronto and Montreal, and a place where you had to get there by boat." I said "Nova Scotia?" and she said "That's the place." She sat down with us, and I reached over and touched her icy-cold hands that seemed to be locked in position. I said, "Your hands are cold. Don't you have any gloves?" She said, "I did, but the police took them when they took all my stuff. Somebody had bought me two really nice pairs of gloves." She told me about her wicked landlord who had doubled her $900-a-month rent. She said that there had been rats in the basement coming up into the apartment. She never asked for money, but I reached into my purse and gave her a $20 bill. She seemed surprised and delighted, and right away, she said, "I am going to get a Chinese dinner." I replied, "You just do that, and enjoy it. I am sorry that you have to live on the streets." She said, "That's all right; God is with me. There are people down here on the streets that are suicidal, and they come and talk to me. I help them." As we parted, she reached up and kissed me on the cheek, and we gave each other hugs. She asked me to pray for her, and I said I would.
I had felt Jesus in this whole encounter, but at that moment and since then, I have been thinking that it was as if Jesus Himself were in that older woman. It humbled me and caused me to think that Jesus can use anyone to draw us to Himself. It was powerful.
When people ask me what the best part of our trip to New York was, I would have to say that it was my encounter with that homeless woman.
Matthew 25:37-40 – Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?" And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." (NKJV)
May each of our hearts be open this day to the possibility of encountering Jesus within those whom we meet and treating them as if they were the Lord, Himself.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunities that You give us each and every day to encounter You in those around us. May our eyes be open to Your presence in our midst and our hearts be ready and able to embrace all of them in the Spirit and love of Jesus. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.