When I ignore a person who asks for money, five seconds later I wonder if I just missed an opportunity to be used by God and display Jesus’ character. I usually pray for the downtrodden as I pass by, but hesitate to serve in other ways.
The Blue Oaks bag of goodies is a great “in” to strike up a conversation, but I still hesitate when feeling a prompt when called to do a little more. However, I did not realize that on a recent work trip to Chicago, God would teach me to hear His voice and to step out of my comfort zone.
Is this really the Holy Spirit’s prompting?
After a long day of training, I walked to Trader Joe’s for some snacks. As I turned the corner, a man said, “the door entrance is over on this side.” Without glancing his way, I casually hollered back appreciation. He continued, “If you could spare some change on your way out, I would appreciate it.”
Now mind you, I encounter dozens of homeless people daily, as my office sits in the SF Tenderloin. I rarely give money out, but, upon hearing his voice, the Holy Spirit prompted me. A thought flooded my mind that $5 and some fruit would answer his request. Then the inner dialog began: “oranges are good…a $5 may be nice, but will this be enough? What if he is offended by this small gift? Is this really the Holy Spirit’s prompting? Its getting late…I should head to the hotel”.
Still unsure of my decision, I placed two oranges in a separate plastic bag and collected my change – $5. Exiting the store, I tucked the $5 into my hand, and asked if he liked oranges. He laughed and I quickly assumed he just wanted money, but instead he announced his love for oranges. I handed him the oranges and $5. Before I could turn away, he shouted with surprise, “I just prayed that God would give me $5 in the next hour!” I was shocked! Had God just used me to answer this man’s prayer?! Had I actually listened this time and not missed an opportunity to show how much God loves him?
The man, named Charles, explained that as I approached he could see Jesus in me. I was humbled – if I had ignored the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I would not have been a part of God answering Charles’ prayer.
I suddenly realized that God had honored my obedience and now was pouring into my life
Perhaps it was the excitement of seeing God use me or being in a different city helped me step out of my comfort zone, but I suddenly found myself in a deep conversation with Charles. He shared his life story that was filled with tragedy but also how he had remained faithful to God. Charles explained how God has given him a prophetic voice inside and outside of the Church. Then Charles began to prophecy over my life! I suddenly realized that God had honored my obedience and now was pouring into my life.
As the sun began to set, I knew it was time to wrap up this amazing God moment. But feeling compelled to pray from him, I closed my eyes on that breezy Chicago street and prayed over Charles. I prayed God would open his territory and the things lost would be restored.
On the walk back to the hotel, I decided next time I hear the small Holy Spirit prompting I would act and not second guess it has my own voice. I also would step out of the comfort zone and not think any act of service is too small.
by Tiffany Lewis