This past Sunday we went out for lunch after church. We saw a man standing at the intersection holding a sign asking for help. I remembered the “blessing bag” Kelsie had made at Vacation Bible School this summer still lying in the floorboard waiting to be given to someone in need. These blessing bags were made up of various basic necessities donated by the kids each day and were to be given out to someone who has fallen on hard times. Each child took a bag home with them and was told to be on the lookout for someone who might need it. When we saw this homeless man on the street corner, I reminded Kelsie of this bag and asked her if she wanted to give her bag to him. She said yes. So we said we would take it to him after lunch. Once we left the restaurant and got back in the car, I picked up the bag, pulled out the slip of paper inside of it, and read it to Kelsie.
It said: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him—” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
We talked about this verse and then I told her that even though this man may be poor and homeless on this Earth, if he believes in Jesus, he will one day have a beautiful home in heaven and will never be poor again. We continued our dialogue on this subject for a few minutes and then drove across the street to run another errand. On our way out of the shopping center, my husband strategically pulled out as the light was turning red so we could have time to hand our bag to this homeless man. Even though a good bit of time had passed since Kelsie and I had discussed the verse inside the bag, it still apparently sparked something inside her mind because she said “Mommy, ask that man if he believes in Jesus.”
I admittedly felt both surprised and a bit uncomfortable at this request. I even looked at my husband with big eyes as if to say, “I better come through on this one!” Even though I am a strong believer in Jesus Christ and should not hesitate to share my faith with others, asking such a bold question to a stranger standing on a street corner made me feel a bit out of my comfort zone. But I knew I couldn’t and SHOULDN’T turn down that opportunity to share the love of Christ with that man or pass up the chance for my daughter to see me living out my faith in such a way. In a world that is doing more and more to try to silence Christians, this felt like a simple yet powerful way to show my child that what she asked was good and it was important. Because as her child like faith already seemed to grasp, the answer to whether or not that man knew Jesus was much more significant than anything in that bag.
So when we pulled up, I reached out the car window and handed him this bag filled with things like snacks, socks, lip balm, and toiletries. He thanked me and then I asked him the question just as my daughter’s curious and loving heart requested. “Do you know Jesus?” His face lit up and he said “Oh yes, yes I do! I pray to him every morning and every night and all throughout the day.” I told him we were glad and we would pray for him too, then shook his hand before we drove off.
I don’t know if what we shared with that man really made much of a difference in his life that day. I hope he can use those items in the bag, I hope he felt the love behind it, and I hope our encounter encouraged him in some way. But even if it wasn’t very impactful in his life, it certainly had a big impact on ours. To my knowledge, that was the first time my 5 year old daughter recognized the need to share the hope we have in Jesus and that was a beautiful thing. And it is something I will never forget.