“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 ESV
As I’m sure a few of you are aware, our family is on a cross-country, or around the country trip in a 34 foot motorhome. In-fact, just today we crossed the 4000 mile mark since leaving Oregon and will be touching foot in our 13th state tomorrow. More on that in the weeks to come.
Last week, we attended the magical Silobration in Waco, Texas. I hadn’t ever been in Waco, only seeing enough Fixer Upper episodes to think I’d seen it all, but boy was I surprised. There was a large turnout as expected, fans of the show wearing shirts that lite up with a “M” for Magnolia, merch sales must have been through the roof with all the shirts and hats pouring in and out, and bus loads of people just itching to get catch even a glimpse of the Gaines through a window.
Now I’ve been to a lot of big cities, San Fran, LA, Portland, Seattle, Honolulu and I have grown somewhat accustom to the unfortunate and sad homeless situation, likely too accustom to it. It’s easy to walk by turning your attention somewhere else without giving it a second thought, but something very different happened to me Saturday afternoon.
Our family had just finished driving through and around Waco looking at some of the houses featured on the show, Harp Designs, etc. and it was time to return to mecca to the concert and party that was being thrown. We had some time to spare so we parked and walked into a large shop just down the block to look around; upon walking in Danielle’s glasses fell off her head and noticed the screw holding earpiece had disappeared. Being the “gentleman” I am, I offered to take the glasses back to the truck so I didn’t have to carry them around the store (and a little less time of wandering around the store). So, I picked them up and headed out the door.
Now, visualize the outside this high-end boutique thing; there was a wine tasting tent and bus ready to take people on wine tours, fancy cars, people dressed pretty dang nice all spending untold amounts of money in the area. I took a few steps out of the store, turned to the right and cut through the gravel parking lot towards our truck. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a homeless man walking in my direction and soon tailing me not 15 feet off, step for step — a little creepy and not like what I would expect. I took a sharp left, passed a couple cars and then a sharp right, thinking maybe he was just gonna keep going his way… wrong. I could see my truck, 60 yards dead ahead and thinking to myself “what would Anthony (my brother-in-law who served in the special forces) do?”. I decided to play it cool while watching reflections in car windows as I passed, making sure our gap wasn’t closing…
Finally reaching the car, I unlocked it and as I reached for the handle, the man spoke…
“Nice truck.” he said about 3 feet from the end of the bed.
“Thank you sir.” I said back, turning to look at him as I leaned my hand on the top of my door.
“Don’t worry, I ain’t gonna cross your property.” He remarked. Who knows what was going on in his head, probably strange to follow someone 200 yards through a parking lot, and being in Texas, he wouldn’t have known if I had grabbed some ‘personal protection’ from the center console or not.
“No worries” I replyed, “can I help you?”
“Was hoping you had a few dollars, I’m awfully hungry.”
“I’m sorry I don’t have any cash with me” (Honestly didn’t and usually don’t)
“No one ever does” he said as I hinted some sarcasm, and I’m sure there’s a lot of truth behind it.
“I can take you to get a hamburger down the street, that food truck at next to the Silo’s made me a real good one yesterday” I said walking a little closer. He began itching at his arms and as he started taking a few steps passed me I noticed the sores up and down his arms.
“Umm… well… no… thank you though, don’t you worry about me, I’ll live. God bless you” he said as he continued on.
“God bless you too” I said back, closing the truck door and locking it and again watching out of the corner of my eye.
I hate to say it, but I turned around a couple times wondering if he was going to then look in the truck for something of value, but he wasn’t and honestly can’t say I saw him again.
I began to wonder what the point of this encounter was all about… who benefited from this? I didn’t do anything of great worth or value for this man, he didn’t let me buy him food giving me the opportunity to brag to my wife or kids about this thing I did. I didn’t preach salvation, but I did give him the time of day, rather than just ignoring him.
I was glad to have the chance to offer to buy him a meal and would have been elated if he took the offer up. Was he an angel as Hebrews says I may have entertained? Likely not, but he brought me from my comfort zone of passing by to being willing to share a meal.