Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Green Pastures

Today was definitely a "Green Pastures day". Any day I get to spend time with my good friend and sister in Christ Patti, is a Green Pastures day. Patti is just one of those women that exudes Christ's love; she draws people to herself like the music of an ice cream truck draws children.

We met for lunch today and I was a few minutes late. When I arrived at the restaurant the hostess greeted me and directed me to the table where Patti was waiting for me. Across from her was a young man. For the life of me I couldn't imagine why she brought someone along with her. As soon as she saw me she greeted me brightly and the young man rose from the chair. As he did I realized he was the waiter. He had been sitting with Patti, chatting and waiting for me to arrive.

I was a bit perplexed. The restaurant was already buzzing with activity over the noon hour, so it wasn't as though the waiter had nothing else to do. Did he know Patti? Is that why he felt so comfortable sitting with her and talking?

Patti read the confused look on my face, and so as soon as the waiter was out of earshot she began to explain how he had come to sit with her. As she was waiting for me, she pulled out her Bible and began to read. The waiter noticed the Book and asked her what she was reading. She told him she was reading her Bible, something she liked to do when she had an opportunity throughout the day. He indicated that he thought that was a good thing, so she asked him if he ever reads the Bible. He said something like, "No, but I've been thinking I should." To which Patti answered, "Well, do it!"

Now, you'd have to know Patti to understand that there was no judgmentalism or chastising in her words to him. She's such a sweet person -- all 4'10" of her -- that she simply couldn't offend. No, she had made a friend. That young man liked her, I could tell. And chances are he'll eventually start reading the Bible. God works that way. He plants little seeds here and there, then waters them and "Bing!"seedlings push through the earth, grow and grow and finally there's a harvest for the reaping.

After lunch Patti and I stood outside the restaurant talking. Just discussing following God and looking for opportunities to serve Him every day. Suddenly, a woman probably in her late forties interrupted us and asked if we could help her. She explained she was homeless and needed $7 for a motel room that evening, assuring us that she wasn't on drugs or an alcoholic; offering other words to prove her need was legitimate. Would we help? I looked at Patti, she looked at me, then she turned to the woman and said, "I will help you if you will let me pray with you." The woman said her name was "Gina" and she "had no problem with praying", so the three of us held hands and Patti prayed a beautiful prayer for Gina. Then she took ten dollars out of her purse and gave it to Gina, saying, "Now, I'm trusting you to use this as you said you would and not for drugs or alcohol." I didn't have but one dollar in my billfold, which I sheepishly and apologetically gave to Gina. She hugged me and thanked both of us. Then left.

Afterwards I looked at Patti and she shrugged and said, "We can't know why God brought her to us, but He did. Maybe she's a homeless woman in need, maybe she's an angel that God sent to teach us something, but whatever the reason, all we can do is pray and help her as we can. We hope she won't use the money for drugs or alcohol, but we can't know for sure. We just help her and leave the rest to God."

Patti taught me a valuable lesson today. I frequently pass homeless people on the street as I walk to and from my office Monday through Friday. Sometimes they ask me for handouts and I mumble something about not having any cash and lower my head and walk away. I'm ashamed to admit it, but it's true. I just never know what to say or do. That is until today. Patti modeled for me what to do when God puts a person in my path. Minister to them in Christ's name.

God, grant me the strength to actually follow through if you bring someone like Gina into my path. And God...bless Patti and cause her to lie down in Green Pastures.

Image from freefoto.com

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