Rising early the woman grabs her list of the items she needs to get at the store and rushes out to the car thinking about all the chores she has lined up and errands she has to run.
Pulling into the parking lot she glances at a man standing under a tree at the edge of the parking lot. He’s unshaven and dressed in heavy clothes; a stocking cap covers his messy brown hair and military style boots to keep his feet warm.
His small hand printed sign asks for work. But she ignores him in her rush to get her items and go on with her day.
She grabs the shopping cart and wastes no time rushing up and down the isles checking off the items on her list as she tosses one item after another into the cart. After going through the check-out and loading the items into her trunk, she takes a deep breath as she starts the car and slowly backs out.
Stopping at the stop sign she looks over at the man. There are no people around him and all the cars are parked near the front of the store, not at the far end of the parking lot.
He looks at her, and then away.
She drives down the road to the next stop light and hears the Lord say, “Go back and ask what he needs.”
“Turn around and go back.” He states.
She makes an illegal U-turn and pulls into the parking lot beside the man and lowers her window.
He steps toward the car and looks intently at her.
“I don’t have any work for you but is there something you need that I can help you with?” She asks.
“Thank you, Ma’am. I need food.”
“I’m not going to give you money but if you’ll go into the store I’ll buy you what you need. Where are you staying?”
The rugged-looking man explains that he, his wife, and little girl were evicted and they’re staying with his wife’s mother but the mother refuses to let him in the house other than to go to the bathroom. He has a tent pitched in the back yard that he sleeps in. He then suggests a gift card for the store and that way he can get what his wife needs.
Contemplating what to do, the woman finally says, “I’ll get you a gift card if you promise me and God you will not buy booze with it.”
“I don’t drink or do drugs, Ma’am and I promise not to buy them.”
As she pulls forward she hears him say, “God bless you Ma’am.”
She quickly buys him a gift card and rushes back out. She rushes to the place where she spoke with the man. She doesn’t see him so she drives around the parking lot looking for him.
The homeless man is nowhere to be found. He just disappeared in a moment’s time.
She named him her homeless angel.
Hebrews 13:2 – “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
There are many men, women, and children across this country, across the world, that sit unnoticed, ignored, and ridiculed in alley ways, sidewalks, and parks. They are the rejects of society even though many are there by circumstances beyond their control. Mental hospitals have closed their doors, our veterans are left with no home or work when they come back from war, single mothers and entire families have been evicted from their home due to losing a job or catastrophic medical bills, and children flee from abusive homes without a place to run to.
There are many reasons why we have so many homeless people living on the streets or in shelters and when we see a man or woman holding a sign that asks for food or asks for work many of us pass by so as to fulfill our busy schedules. I wonder how many times we, or I, have walked past, driven past, someone in ragged attire and never considered that we may have just missed a real encounter with one of God’s angel’s that the Lord positioned there as a test to us. Where’s our heart? Are we too busy to reach out to others in need? The next time you see a homeless man or woman, stop and think, “I may be looking at an angel.”