It had been a beautiful day. The planning meetings were over. Tomorrow a team of us would be working with about a dozen faith based ministries on developing strong and effective boards. Now it was time for a walk along the river in the city I was visiting. It was great to get some exercise. The walk included treasured time on the phone with my wife, ending in prayer together.
After a couple of miles there was a coffee shop with some good ice tea. As I entered, I noticed a man making his bed on the side of the curb. I realized after walking into the coffee shop that he was trying to get my attention. When I looked out the window, he was looking down, shaking his head while tending to his curbside bed. The unspoken message was, “Another person just walked by me without noticing me.”
Instead of ordering one ice tea, I ordered two, plus a sandwich. I put it together in a little gift bag along with a $5 bill. Once out of the coffee shop, I went straight over to him. We looked each other in the eyes and I asked him if he would be willing to receive this little gift bag from me.
He said, “Yes.”
He went on to tell me his name and he asked if he could pray a blessing. He humbly held his hands together with his palms facing up. I wish I could remember the prayer word for word, but it went something like this: “Dear God, I know you are busy, but could you take time to bless this servant who has brought me this gift. May this gift nourish me physically and spiritually. Strengthen your servant so that he can help other people who are in a tough place like me.”
After he prayed, I asked if I could pray too. He said, “Yes.” So I prayed, “Dear Jesus, please bless Anthony tonight. Take care of him. Keep him safe and protect him from evil. Give him what he needs. Let him know just how much You love him. In Jesus name, Amen.”
As I walked away, I realized that I was the recipient of an unexpected gift of God’s grace. Anthony gave me what he had, a humble and beautiful blessing. He interceded for me. He reminded me that God’s grace is everywhere.
There is a story recounted in the Bible where a poor and disabled person is asking the apostle Peter for money. Peter responds by saying, “I don’t have the money you need, but I will give you what I have.” With that, this poor person was healed of his physical disabilities.
Anthony reminds me of Peter. He gave me what he had. He gave me a spiritual blessing. He gave me encouragement. His gift was beautiful and abundant in so many ways.
“Dear Jesus, thank you for Anthony and the gift he gave me. Your grace is everywhere. I am so grateful. In Jesus name, Amen.”