Saturday, November 19, 2005

Church-Goers

I just witness something that greatly disturbed me.

I'm sitting at Panera in the back (where it's usually quieter) so that I can work on some things, when a young man, who is obviously homeless, comes in the back door where none of the workers are as likely to see him, and sits down at the table in front of me. He doesn't talk to me except to ask the time. I give it to him.

He strikes up a conversation with the family at the next table, telling them how pretty the little girls are, asking the time, just trying to strike up conversation, and as this family does the best to ignore him, they start to talk about all of the church activities they've got going tomorrow, the mother gets up, says, "I'll take care of this" and storms off.

Next thing I know, two of the guys that work here come over and tell the guy he's got to leave.

After he leaves, the grandmother looks to the husband and says, "Did [the mother] do that? I would have bought him lunch...."

Again, I've worked with a lot of homeless people, and I have to admit that this guy seemed ok. He didn't smell like alcohol and he didn't speak with slurred speech or seem to be high on anything. I'm sure it creeped the mom out that he was commenting on how beautiful her children were, and it may have creeped me out if I were in her situation, as well. But they made sure to let this guy know that they were Christian by the conversation they struck up while trying to ignore him. And my question is this: What was the point??? Why in the heck would someone start up a conversation in front of someone who is obviously in need about what an active "Christian" family they are? Where they holding it over this guy's head? Making sure to let him know that they are above him because they can afford to eat out and because they go to church?

And they missed out on a great opportunity to be Jesus to their children. When the man left and the little girls looked up at their mom and said, "Mom, why did they make him leave?" She just changed the conversation again.

I just don't understand people. I could've bought the guy some soup or something, but he was gone before I even had the chance. And, frankly, I was probably more absorbed in how the family reacted to this guy than the guy himself. That's sinful on my part.

Opportunities......how often do we miss them? I had a 2 minute window (really, that's about as long as he was here) and I missed it.

7 Comments:

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

That really is sad. In the eyes of God we are all equal. This family missed out on a wonderful opportunity to bless this man...as well as their own family.

I truely believe that one day we are going to be held accountable for the opportunites we ignored.

 
At 7:01 AM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

Was Tim's sermon on target Sunday or what!

Tony

 
At 8:08 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

I'm embarassed to say that I wouldn't know.....we missed church yesterday. :o(

 
At 11:33 AM, Blogger Michele said...

Amanda,

Your experience really hit home with me. Life is just too short!

I don't want to miss opportunities.

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

Get a CD of it or download it from the OC website. You will be amazed.

Tony

 
At 11:32 AM, Blogger Natalie Brooke said...

sometimes it's those moments that i miss that sometimes haunt me in a way. i second guess myself. i know that by passing up the opportunity i was wrong and then i think of the verse that says "whatever you have done to the least of these you have done to me". and i just break down to God. it's hard to ask forgiveness for those moments.

and it just breaks my heart that the family would do such a thing. i'm with you, she had the chance to not only be Jesus to her children, but to that man.

Everytime a situation like this comes up, i'm reminded of collin ray's song, "what if Jesus comes back like that". basically what if Jesus comes back a homeless man, or a single parent...or whatever the world and us christians sometimes or always reject.

I think that you'd like to read about something that some of my best friends are doing in Denver. It's called "Dry Bones" and it's a ministry that strictly reaches out to street kids. they are hoping to spread it across the US eventually. Go to my blog, then click on Niki Nowell's blog on the right and you can find the link on her blog.

Love you girl! thanks for sharing this...thanks for making us all think twice.

 
At 6:23 PM, Blogger merochan said...

I really don't know you and so this may be odd but I was googling "WHat has 5 i's and can't see" and your blog came up.

I just wanted to thank you for your words. I'm a Christian in Tokyo, Japan and there are few of us here and few churches that are spirit filled. I've been here almost 9 months and to be honest haven't been filling my life with the Lord or even trying really. Not that I'm out curousing the night life or anything but I'm not pressing into that small voice that calls to me to come closer. Your words were refreshing and stired my heart. Reminding me of why I am hear on this earth and why I chose to "sign" up for this thing called being a Christ Follower. . . Thank you.

May the Lord bless your house and your marriage. May He shine down on you wherever you may be. Blessings.

Melody

 

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