Driving: A Common Life Experience
One day at a busy intersection in Houston, I geared myself up to hit the gas pedal—holding tightly to the steering wheel waiting. However, my deep desire to accelerate quickly was held back by the red traffic light staring right at me.
While sitting at this busy juncture, I was also trying to psyche myself into a spiritual high by listening (and fake singing) to the blaring voice of Andre Crouch singing My Tribute—a popular Christian song from the ’70s!
Immobilized by the traffic light, I was situated as a prime target for an aged homeless man who was only a few feet away from me, resting on an old overturned white paint bucket.
Experience: Provided by Our Culture and Beliefs
When we lived in Nigeria a few years ago during our temporary relocation to that country, I was trained not to open our car windows to the beggars and to only look straight ahead. My husband’s company security regulations drilled into us that, as expatriates, we should never have eye contact with the street people—the “down-and-outers”. I did understand the strict company policy was in place to keep us safe! But now I was here in the United States. Expatriates are people who live outside their native country, but now I was on my home turf!
My mind rewound to my pastor’s recent sermon about how valuable people are. While I can’t exactly quote what he said, I do remember the gist of his sermon that addressed how un-Christlike it is if we can’t even look a homeless person in the eye—which was exactly what I was doing!
Making the matter worse was I was trying to soak up His blessings while listening to such “Godly music”:
With His blood, He has saved me; with His power, He has raised me; to God be the glory for the things He has done . . . Just let me be, pleasing Lord to thee and if I gain any praise, let it go to Calvary.
A Banana: Provided by a Reluctant Believer
How could I not look this homeless man in the eye while listening to those Christian music lyrics and not give him something?
Just let me live my life; Let it pleasing, Lord to Thee
I had no cash—and if I did, it would take longer than the red light gave me to dig through the bottom of my purse to find some loose change.
Wait! I had a banana that I had just put in my purse for my lunch. Not just any banana. It was a beautiful, large yellow banana—perfectly shaped and ripe for a luscious eating experience!
I pulled that banana out of my purse, rolled down my window, and asked the man, “Wanna banana?” I gave him the only thing I had.
His blood-shot blue eyes sparkled, and he looked right into my eyes. On top of that, his “larger-than-life” smile contained more gratefulness and sincerity than I had experienced in a long time, even among my Christian acquaintances. If only his eyes could talk.
Conviction filled my heart as I thought that just a few seconds earlier I couldn’t – possibly wouldn’t – even turn my head to look at him.
Meat: Provided to the Israelites
After two decades of being captive in Egypt, Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt to enter the Promised Land that was given to the Israelites by God. Unfortunately, that generation did not make it to the Promised Land due to sin: rather, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Early on, the people complained about the lack of food. But God, in His goodness, provided water and food for them. He took care of His people.
This reminded me that God still takes care of people today—whoever they are. In this case, even the homeless man in Houston merited divine favor. Who was I to judge whether he was deserving or not?
8 Moses said, “This will happen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the Lord hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord.”
9 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, ‘Come near before the Lord, for He has heard your grumblings.’” 10 It came about as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 12 “I have heard the grumblings of the sons of Israel; speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”
13 So it came about at evening that the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground. 15 When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. (Exodus 16:8-15)
Bread and Fish: Provided to Five Thousand
Our needs are known by God. In the gospels when 5,000 people were hungry, Jesus’ compassionate nature responded with action. He did not send people away hungry. He fed the entire multitude with a few loaves of bread and a handful of fish. Many commentaries propose that this miracle — which is recorded in all four of the gospels—suggests that our Lord really wants us to understand that we should be loving and benevolent to the hungry and hurting people we encounter.
13 Now when Jesus heard about John [how John’s head was brought on a platter and given to the Herod’s daughter, and how she brought it to her mother], He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.15 When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” 17 They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 18 And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19 Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, 20 and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. 21 There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:13-21)
Acknowledgment: Provided by God
As he took my banana and started to peel it, the homeless man said something. I know it was more than a “thank you.” But because of my blaring Christian music, I couldn’t hear him.
I wish I knew what he said, but within my soul, I heard, “Patti, you’re my good and faithful servant. You just practiced kindness. Thank you.”
He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor. (Proverbs 22:9)
“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.” (Matthew 6:22)
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matthew 25:21)
But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” (Acts 3:6)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Heavenly Father, teach me Your ways. Let me never look down on anyone. You have made everybody in this world. Continually remind me that sharing Your love with others through my words and deeds is what You desire from me. As Titus 3:14 prompts us all, let me learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs so that my actions will be fruitful. Amen.
Central Houston Inspirational Writers Alive! Associate Member; BibleGateway Blogger, Member; SBC, Church Member
Edited by E. Johnson.
New American Standard Bible. BibleGateway.com. Web. 5 Sept 2019.
To receive blogs from GreenePastures.org delivered straight to your email, please email me at Patti@GreenePastures.org with your email address, and I will add you to the email listing. Thank you.
Books by Patti Greene [Order today for Christmas]
Devotional Prayer Journals
@PattiGreene13 #PattiGreene13 #bgbg2