(Thinking about it now, it's kinda ridiculous. I should've just said hi. Anyway...)
I get back to the office and a little while after, Max says hey, I think Steve is still out there. We should make him a plate of food.
(Great, right after I walk by the man, Max has this great idea...but often, I feel that's how God works in my life.)
So we get to it.
All we have in the fridge are some veggies...and I'm feeling a little embarrassed cause that's all we have to give. And then I think to myself, "Why are you embarrassed? He doesn't have anything to eat. Something is better than nothing. Right?"
So I get over that.
Max also gets some chips, soap, and a Coke. Doesn't look like that pitiful of an offering anymore.
As we are walking out, we say a few short prayers. We ask God to bless Steve. We ask God for wisdom as to how to love Steve.
We get there and this is not a movie, so this picture also comes with smells and I can smell Steve. Which makes it a little more difficult to be there. He's lying down curled up, headphones on, with his cap still drawn over his eyes. He's resting. I'm ready to tell Max let's leave the plate and other stuff by him and let Steve rest, but before I can say anything, here's Max nudging Steve's arm...
Steve wakes up with a tired and confused look on his face. But he gets up and acknowledges us. So we (re)introduce ourselves and give him our little gifts of soap, chips, veggies, & a coke.
We talk stories.
We hear how he tries to keep his area clean so the cops don't bust him or tell him to move. We hear how he is still healing from a hip replacement. We hear how other people steal his stuff like his blanket and soap...and as he mentions the soap, he looks at the big plastic bag full of hotel soap and shampoo and says how it was just what he needed. (Wow.)
We stay there for a little while longer and before we leave, we ask Steve if we can pray for him. He says it's alright. So we do. We pray. At the bus stop. We pray for healing to come to his hip and to his ulcers. We pray for God to provide for Steve. We pray for God to bless Steve. (Amen) We shake hands and let him know that our office is around the corner if he needs any help.
Then Max and I head back.
As we do, I think about what just happened. I think about what my plan for Steve was: to provide a few things, gain his trust, infuse a little hope into his life, pray that Steve comes to the Lord, gets off the streets, gets a place to stay, gets a job, comes to church and tells everyone how God changed his life!
But that wasn't God's plan. Not that day anyway. God's plan was for me to get to know Steve better. God's plan was for me to see how grateful he was for those simple things. My plan was for me to go and bless Steve and for me to teach him something about God, but God's plan was that Steve was going to teach me...about contentment...about being grateful...and about what we need to "survive".
If we think about it, what do we need? Not that much. But we stress, fight, and work so hard for things that really aren't that essential.
This is a difficult verse because of the culture most of us live in, but it comes to mind:
Proverbs 30:7-9 NIV
7“Two things I ask of you, Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
8Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
...so thanks, God.
...and thanks, Steve.