Recently my husband and I were trying to locate a restaurant in a town other than the place we lived in. We pulled over in the downtown area to check our GPS instructions since they seemed to be leading us to another community. When I looked up a disheveled middle-aged man appeared at my window. I cautiously rolled down the window just a few inches. At first he offered to help us find whatever we were looking for. But then the real meaning of his helpfulness came to fruition.
He told us he was homeless and he needed money for a hotel room. He quoted an exact amount that wasn’t really realistic considering the prices in this day and age. I hesitated a minute and then I gave him some money. He seemed very grateful at first. I told him that I was giving him this money because God loves him. He said his name was Robert and asked that I pray for him. He respectfully removed his ball cap and I said a short prayer on his behalf. As soon as the prayer was completed he looks at my husband and asked him for some more money. He even asked for pocket change. Robert was asked at that time to move along.
I’ve thought about this interchange a lot. God’s Word has much to say about prayer. We are told to pray without ceasing; we are told to ask and we’ll receive; we are given the example of the persistent widow that repeatedly presented requests before the judge until she was satisfied. God wants us to pray, to converse with Him. Yet, how many times do we do so selfishly? Do we ask out of greed? Do we continually ask over and over for the same thing….as if we are never satisfied. Certainly, I’m not speaking of prayers on behalf of others. We should always pray for the salvation of others. But how many times do we pray thinking about what WE want? We are never satisfied. Recently I heard someone pray thanking God for a win in a baseball game. This was a prayer from a child, so that is understandable. However, the “amens” from the adults were perplexing to me. Praying for safety for our athletes is a good thing. Praying that our players will honor God is a better thing. Praying for a win in order to obtain bragging rights? That’s the definition of pride. Where is our focus? Inward? Outward? Or Upward?
So….going back to Robert. The Bible says that many times we will entertain angels unaware. Was Robert an angel sent to us? God knows. We do not. But whoever Robert is I pray that he will reflect on the goodness of God and not on the generosity of man.
Robert needs direction in life, yet he gave us directions too…and God used him to teach us also.
We thought we were simply seeking directions to a restaurant but instead we were given directions in compassion and empathy. That’s how God works. He was and will always be the ultimate Teacher.