Lunch with a Homeless Man
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid." Matthew 5:14
"I had lunch with a homeless man," my husband said when he called me earlier this week from Atlanta. "I'm walking back to the market right now, but I thought I would call and let you know."
"What?" I asked in surprise.
You see, my husband is an introvert to the nth degree. He has learned to act like an extrovert in business settings, but, in his heart of hearts, he can be a bit of a loner. Talking to strangers is not in his nature or in his comfort zone. At all.
He continued, "Yeah, I saw this guy on the side of the street. He told me that he didn't want any money, but could I get him some food. He told me he was hungry."
I assumed that my husband, who is very generous, bought him a meal and sent him on his way. Generosity is one of his strong suits.
"Yeah, we stood in line together at Chick-fil-A. After we got our food, I asked him if he would have lunch with me. And he agreed."
"What? You asked a stranger to have lunch with you? Wow! I mean, that's awesome, but wow..." I was in awe.
"I asked him what his story was, and he told me. He said he hadn't always lived like this. He explained to me that he had recently been released from jail after a DUI, and that he didn't have anywhere to go. His family had run out of grace for him."
"How sad," I almost choked on the words.
"We talked for an hour," my husband continued. "And I told him that God had more for him than the life he was living. I told him the people we surround ourselves with can help make or break us. I told him that decisions have consequences and sometimes turning your life around has to do with making one good decision, then the next, then the next."
"That's amazing. What did he say?" I inquired.
"He said another Christian told him his name, Martel, was a brand of alcohol," my husband answered.
"But I told him that God can give him a new name and make him a new creation and set his foot upon the rock and totally transform his life if he seeks God first in all things."
Now, I couldn't even get out a squeak. I was so touched my introverted husband had sat down with a total stranger and shared the gospel of hope, the gospel of truth, the gospel of Jesus with a guy with no hope, no truth, and no Jesus.
I may have to take a cry break right now to finish.....
Okay. I'm okay.
"This was a divine appointment," I managed to say.
"Yes, I believe it was. I told him my story and how God changed my life. I prayed for the man before I left and gave him my cell phone number. He told me he didn't have a phone, but I told him to call me if he got one." He concluded.
The whole time he talked, I played it all out in my head hearing my husband's gentle voice talking to this man.
So why was my husband in Atlanta at all?
Because God had answered one of our prayers. Twice per year, our import company sets up a temporary showroom in Atlanta's America's Mart to sell products. Most of the products are ones designed and developed by my husband. It's a monstrous amount of work to take thousands of items to market, build walls, display the items, and then tear it all down a few days later when the show ends.
We have been praying for a PERMANENT SHOWROOM space. One we could set up and leave for awhile. This year, we were given the opportunity, and God provided the resources for us to have our very own permanent showroom in Atlanta.
Here is it. It's such a God thing.
We will still keep our temporary space for a show or so until we can get everyone used to visiting our permanent space, but in the long run, this should make things a little easier for our staff. It's a sign of hope and growth, and Jesus underwrote it all because he is the author of growth and hope. Not us.
My husband and the gang are in Atlanta now setting up walls and merchandising our items; thus, the reason he was in Atlanta in the first place.
He was super busy on the day he met the broken man. But he knew sitting down with Martel and building Jesus's showroom was much more important than rushing off to try and build his own.
My husband has never been homeless, but he's been a broken man. And he knows what a difference God can make in a life.
Our business is our mission field. We are nothing and would have nothing without God's grace, mercy, and support. Our goal is represent Christ in the marketplace and gain ground for Jesus everywhere we go.
If you open your heart to God, he can do miraculous works in your life, your family, your church, your business, your world. He is able to embolden you to talk to strangers and share his unconditional love and unfailing mercy. He is able to change your circumstances and give you wisdom to make decisions glorifying him.
Our struggles in this life are temporary, just like one of our showrooms, but God's goodness is permanent. Even if we find ourselves without an earthly home, we can rest in knowing we have an eternal home with the Creator of it all. It's definitely something worth sharing with others.
If you think of him, will you say a prayer for Martel?
Father, thank you for being a wonderful, amazing, awesome, all-inspiring Creator. Thank you for loving me when I was unlovable. Thank you for the grace and mercy you show me every day of my life. God, I ask you to watch over Martel and send more people in his path to encourage him and share you with him. Change his mind, change his heart, change his life. Give him a new name and make him a new creation. In Jesus's name. Amen.