I sat in the back of the huge church, intent on receiving whatever Jesus had for me at the large conference. I glanced around, and noticed a lone man, sitting in back, wearing a faded blue hooded sweatshirt and matching baseball cap. Dark curly hair escaped out of his hat, and a warm smile lit up his weather worn face. Everyone else in the building wore nice church clothes, many with suits and ties, he too seemed to be wearing his Sunday best, which may be all he had. He didn’t fit, and the empty seats buffering his location served to emphasize that point. I turned back around to face the stage, but immediately knew Jesus wanted me to chat with him.
I learned his name was Dan, and I simply told him I was happy he was there, I was happy to see him, and Jesus was happy he was there too. I shook his leathery hand, and could feel the years of tough living in his calluses. I left after a sincere, “Good to see you, brother,” and his entire countenance, lit up. I chatted to him here and there during the week as the conference progressed, just saying hi and that it was good to see him.
The conference continued to fill as the nights went on. Finally, one night, it was so full, my wife and I had a hard time finding two seats together. Dozens of well dressed, clean-cut church folks were seated alone with an empty seat on either side, but not one either noticed our need for seats or cared, except for Dan. He stood up, and insisted we take his spot, and then proceeded to the lobby, to watch the service being broadcast live on a TV screen. The following night, as we left, he pulled me aside to chat. He had been saved by Jesus from a life of living on the street and drugs, and had remained clean for several months now. He wanted advice and an ear to listen as he vented frustration with his own “inner demons” and the continual battle to walk in hope, one day at a time. We prayed together and Kirsten blessed him with what little we had on us, he declined any further help, but instead shared a word of blessing over our lives.
The conference had been good, but of the 2000 attendees, the only homeless man in attendance was the real blessing and only friend I made that week. I feel joy when thinking of Dan, that someone society deems as doomed can be pulled back into joy by my Jesus. However, I am sad upon leaving the conference, fearing that one else from that church will stop to remind him that Jesus loves him and is proud of him and that he’s loved by his brothers and sisters in Christ. Not one person in the massive church may ever know that he is a sweet thoughtful person, with a powerful story which could inspire so many others of the power of Love.
As God’s people, we don’t need to solve life’s largest problems or even fix one person, I believe that can only be done by God. However, I know that we can obey Jesus in loving those little children newest to His Light, His Hope and His Love.