His face was dirty, but his eyes were bright. It was easy to see that the clothes he wore came from the Salvation Army mission across the street. He wasn't ashamed to approach a stranger and ask. I wondered if he had seen me reach in my pocket for the mother and children fifty yards back up the street. But what he said was so full of truth that it caught me off guard at the moment he said it. Unabashedly he invaded my space and said, "Hey mister, I could really use some change." I reached in my pocket and gave him a dollar so that he would leave me alone and kept walking.
When I arrived at my car and started to pull out of the parking lot, he was waving in gratitude. I felt so bad about having rushed by him so quickly. Not only bad, but as I drove on I felt heavy conviction. Hadn't I read about a story just like this in the Bible? And wasn't the response a whole lot different......
"Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.* And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us." And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!" And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him."(Acts 3:1-10 ESV)
When that man said, "Hey mister, I could really use some change" I missed an opportunity to see God work a miracle. He had asked for more than what he knew. The truth of the matter is that he could use some change. D.T. Niles defined evangelism as one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. You know, in the light of the gospel I am no better than that beggar on the street. I need change every bit as much as he does.
A lost man living on the street could use some change. Not the kind that jingles in your pocket, but the kind that brings revolution to your soul. And I was too put out to see what I missed. Need I say more?