Sunday, September 30, 2012

Daniel's Gloves


I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant
just off the corner of the town-square. The food and the company were
both especially good that day.

As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street.
There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all
his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that
read, 'I will work for food.' My heart sank...

I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others
around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture
of sadness and disbelief.

We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We
finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and
quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square,
looking somewhat halfheartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful,
knowing that seeing him again would call some response. I drove
through town and saw nothing of him.. I made some purchases at a store
and got back in my car.

Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: 'Don't go back
to the office until you've at least driven once more around the square.'
Then with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the
square's third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the
store front church, going through his sack.

I stopped and looked; feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet
wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to
be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and
approached the town's newest visitor.

'Looking for the pastor?' I asked.

'Not really,' he replied, 'just resting.'

'Have you eaten today?'

'Oh, I ate something early this morning.'

'Would you like to have lunch with me?'

'Do you have some work I could do for you?'

'No work,' I replied.. 'I commute here to work from the city, but I
would like to take you to lunch.'

'Sure,' he replied with a smile.
As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions.
'Where you headed?'

' St. Louis '

'Where you from?'

'Oh, all over; mostly Florida .'

'How long you been walking?'
'Fourteen years,' came the reply.

I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the
same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly
beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with
an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his
jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, 'Jesus is The Never
Ending Story.'

Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in
life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences..
Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had
stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who
were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he
thought.

He was hired.. The tent would not house a concert, but revival
services. In those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his
life over to God.

'Nothing's been the same since,' he said. 'I felt the Lord telling me
to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now.'

'Ever think of stopping?' I asked.

'Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me; but God has
given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That's what's in my sack. I
work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit
leads.'

I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission
and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment
and then I asked: 'What's it like?'

'What?'

'To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show
your sign?'

'Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make
comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a
gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became
humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change
people's concepts of other folks like me.'

My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his
things. Just outside the door, he paused, turned to me and said, 'Come
Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you.
For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me
drink, a stranger and you took me in.'

I felt as if we were on holy ground. 'Could you use another Bible?' I asked.

He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was
not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. 'I've read through
it 14 times,' he said.

'I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church and
see.' I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well,
and he seemed very grateful.

'Where are you headed from here?' I asked.

'Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon.'

'Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?'

'No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star
right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next.'

He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his
mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we'd met two hours
earlier. As we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his
things.

'Would you sign my autograph book?' he asked.. 'I like to keep
messages from folks I meet.'

I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had
touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with
a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, 'I know the plans I have for you,
declared the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to
give you a future and a hope.'

'Thanks, man,' he said. 'I know we just met and we're really just
strangers, but I love you.'

'I know,' I said, 'I love you, too.' 'The Lord is good!'

'Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?' I asked.

'A long time,' he replied.

And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend
and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put
his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, 'See you in
the New Jerusalem.'

'I'll be there!' was my reply.

He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from
his bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, 'When you
see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?'

'You bet,' I shouted back, 'God bless.'

'God bless.' And that was the last I saw of him.

Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold
front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my
car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them - a
pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the
handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his
hands would stay warm that night without them. Then I remembered his
words: 'If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray
for me?'

Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the
world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two
hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry. 'See you in
the New Jerusalem,' he said.
Yes, Daniel, I know I will.

'I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do or
any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass
this way again.'

My instructions were to send this to people that I wanted God to bless
and I picked you. Please pass this to people you want to be blessed.

This prayer is powerful and there is nothing attached. Please do not
break this pattern.. Prayer is one of the best gifts we receive. There
is no cost but a lot of rewards. Let's continue to pray for one
another. God bless and have a nice day!

'Father, I ask you to bless my friends, relatives and e-mail buddies
reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of your love and
power. Holy Spirit, I ask you to minister to their spirit at this very
moment. Where there is pain, give them your peace and mercy. Where
there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through your grace,
In Jesus' precious name; Amen.'

This story is so touching I felt each of you would enjoy it greatly.

GOD BLESS YOU MY FRIENDS!
 Selected

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