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Faith Revealed

Author: Pastor Mitch
September 05, 2019

I could see him approaching the gas station out of the corner of my left eye. He and his pitbull were walking with purpose, directly toward me. As they drew closer, I made a quick judgment: This man is homeless and seeking a handout. But the problem was, I didn’t have a single dollar in my wallet, only receipts and a credit card. I remember thinking, what can I do to quickly move this man along. I didn’t have time for a conversation, no cash to give, and no great burden to help. To make matters worse from my own perspective, I was the only customer at the gas station. 

And so right up to me they came. Before he could ask for help, I said, “Sorry sir, I don’t have any money in my wallet.” Taking it out and opening it to present the actual evidence. But he was undeterred. “Life is going real bad for me right now. I am so discouraged. I am so mad. Life is not fair. I can’t seem to catch a break.”

I was beginning to feel a little bit of compassion. Then he said, “I’m looking for a little gas. My truck ran out.” Sure enough, there in his right hand was a plastic bag and inside was a gas can. “Yes, I can give you some gas,” I said, feeling relief that some help could be offered. I began to say a prayer. “Lord, help me to know just how best to help this man. Maybe the gas is all he needs. Amen.”

Then the man said, “You know what I really need?” I said, “What?” “I am really hungry.”

I thought, didn’t he believe me, I have no cash on me. But then the Lord said, “Didn’t you ask Me to help you know what he needed?”

I noticed a Jack-in-the-Box restaurant right across the street. I said, “Tell you what, I’ll meet you there when I’m finished filling my car with gas.” Two minutes later, we meet at the entrance of the restaurant. I said, “What would you like to eat?” He replied, “Just a hamburger.” I thought, why isn’t he asking for more? I can eat three hamburgers when I’m hungry. He added, “Just one hamburger and maybe a chocolate shake.” I made the executive decision to buy him more food than he asked for, perhaps to ease my guilty conscience of initially not wanting to be bothered.

I presented him the food and he was so grateful. He said, “You don’t know how thankful I am for your help.” I asked, “Do you believe in God?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Today, God is telling you He loves you.” Then he said, “What I really need . . . is clothes.” I said, no problem and gave him the address of our Community Service Center. He promised to come.

As we parted, I asked him for his name. He said, James. I was intrigued by his name. I immediately thought of the verse in the book of James that says, “Faith without works is dead.”

Today, I heard a knock on my church office door. Sure enough, it was James, the very same man who had run out of gas with his dog. And he said, “I just want to thank you again for blessing me. I received some clothes from the Community Service Center. I am so grateful.” 

With joy in our hearts, we prayed together. And then the verse came to my mind, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”