The Panhandler in the Parking Lot

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

What I’m about to talk about would not be considered a BIG thing for most of us, but I am amazed at God’s timing and how He uses small things in our lives.

Panhandlers throughout town talk about the new signs going up in

Last Friday, I took the day off from the ministry and went out to Wills Point to visit someone. After a great time of fellowship, I jumped in my car and took off down Highway 80 to Walmart. I did my weekly shopping as usual and came out to my car and was just starting to load my groceries into the trunk. Suddenly I heard the voice of a lady, very politely, approach me and ask for money. Now, I think I am somewhat of a target for some reason, and I usually give them something even though my heart isn’t really in it and just to get them on their way. I figure the money will not be used for the situation in the story I am told. So, I put up with them and hope that I am not just adding to their problems by giving them money. By the way, I’m not promoting that as a good attitude for us to have, in case you were wondering.

But this encounter was a little different for some reason. The woman’s story was much like I had heard before but she added a little twist. She said she would gladly work for her money and asked me if she could put my groceries in the trunk of my car for me. I thought that kind of strange and unique. I also started getting impressions, I guess from the Lord, to not take on my usual attitude toward this woman. I told the lady, not to help with my groceries, but I told her to wait, and I jumped into my car and grabbed a tract from my glove compartment. It had been such a long time since I had done that, that I almost had to wipe the dust off the tract before giving it to her. I managed to find the tract I was looking for and gave it to her with some money and some instructions. I told her, that I really didn’t need her help with my groceries, but I told her that her “job” she could do for me was to read and think about the tract. She looked at me and said, “God bless you, sir.” And that was the end of the encounter.

What was strange to me after that encounter, was that I kept thinking about this lady over the rest of the weekend and praying for her. Actually, I am still doing that.  Truly, that was unusual for me in these kinds of situations. I kept thinking that I should have given her more of a testimony about the Lord, but in all honesty, that has always been one of my weak points. Over the weekend, I kept telling God what a failure I am, but I also knew He already knew that.

Like I said, this encounter would be no big deal for most of us, but I could not get it out of my mind all weekend. Sunday morning arrived and I jumped in my little car and headed off to 8:30 service. I took FM 47 so I could see my friends the camels and zebras that I hadn’t seen for some time. Our Pastor was starting a new series and I was kind of excited to hear the first message. The title, as most of you know was PROXIMATE! I couldn’t figure out what that would be about.

I wish I had my notes with me at the moment, but I don’t. So, here are my thoughts of what our pastor talked about. What struck me mostly, was the thought of “coming out of our comfort zone and embracing our weaknesses.” Again, to be honest, that thought has been plaguing me for a while. I have often told people, that my life is generally lived in a bubble. I live with Christians all around me, I work with Christians, read and study the Bible, I attend journey group, and church. Please believe me, there is nothing wrong with any of this. But for some reason, I have felt for some time I need to come out of my comfort zone a little. It’s just a little nagging in the back of my mind. I have had some thoughts of what I could do, but for various reasons I have not incorporated them into my life. In all honesty, I have a hard-enough time keeping up with things as they are. I’m pretty sure most of you could say the same thing. And the other thing that hinders me is the fear of trying new things. Maybe that isn’t your problem, but it is mine.

But what this first week showed me was that we, as God’s church, need to consider this deeper. While I am hearing a lot about “community” these days, and I think it is good to live in community, we cannot hibernate there. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul said, But He said to me, “MY grace is sufficient for you, for MY power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will BOAST all the more gladly of MY WEAKNESSES, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (Emphasis, mine).

I have never really thought much about “boasting in my weaknesses.” But that is just what we should do. God uses weak and humble people. It’s amazing to me that He uses us at all, but in His sovereignty, that is what he decided to do! But we cannot just boast in our weaknesses. We need to let God show us how to do His work in our weaknesses so that His power can be manifested though us. I’m not sure what that looks like for myself, much less for any of you. God works in each one of us as He wills. But I am praying that God will show me how to come out of my comfort zone and begin to PROXIMATE with people around me that I am not used to and who need to see Jesus. May we become ‘proximaters’ (my computer tells me that’s not really a word) in our lives.

Somehow, by God’s grace, may we be clear demonstrators of God’s love to those around us that we would not normally associate with. May He give us the boldness and courage to love and serve those around us despite our fears and weaknesses. Amen!

1 thought on “The Panhandler in the Parking Lot

  1. I so relate to this. I want to put feet to my faith, but fear and inadequacy have kept me glued in place. I am hoping next time an opportunity comes into my proximity, I will remember that my God is bigger than the most gianormous of my fears, and all I have to do is to let Him, and He will have my back, and what’s the worst that could happen, I embarrass myself maybe and die a little inside, but when you think about how insignificant that is when one considers the cross and the gift of an eternity with a loving God, I am hoping, and wishing you the same. Great post!

    Like

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