Today, I got knocked up side the head with the hard reality of being a flawed follower of Christ. All thanks to a homeless man. It still hurts, but the bruise is around my tender soul instead of my hard head.
And, I’m so thankful.
I stopped for lunch at a local bistro. Sitting against the alley wall of the next building was a homeless man. Our eyes met. Embarrassment, expectancy, and roughened pride made a strange concoction in his dark eyes. He asked for change. I had none. He asked for a cup of coffee instead. Yes, of course. Minutes later while waiting for my turkey panini, I walked the hot cup out to him and we exchanged Merry Christmases.
I said a prayer for the man as I ate my lunch. I hoped the coffee, such a simple gesture, would nourish him somehow. Although not terribly sacrificial, I helped how I could in the moment.
Leaving the place a bit later, my eyes fell in the direction of where the man was. Gone. I looked down the alley, hoping for sight of him. Nothing. Then I saw it. The empty coffee cup left littered on the ground where he had sat.
Enjoyed for what was needed in the moment, then discarded haphazardly.
My first reaction was one of frustration. How could he just leave the trash behind? A dumpster sat mere feet from him. How ungrateful.
Minutes later, I pulled into my parking spot at work and sat stunned by a striking parallel. I am that man. Instead of a cup of coffee, my gift was salvation. Instead of myself — a privileged, educated, employed woman — Jesus is the giver. How often I take only a fleeting moment to partake of the promises of Christ before tossing it aside to litter the peripheral of my life.
How many empty cups of peace, joy, forgiveness, comfort, and hope lay cast away by my hand?
I’m still a bit breathless with shame. Do you know the feeling? That adrenaline-induced panicky feeling when you’re caught doing something you shouldn’t. You know better, Teresa.
It’s Christmas week. As I regain my breath, I am grateful for this timely reminder. I pray to be more mindful of the gift of Jesus. I want to treasure him. I want to wear his grace proudly and let it shine in a way that makes admirers ask, “Oh, where’d you get that? It’s beautiful.” It’s no secret. No coupon required. No exclusive prices – freely given through grace.
Merry Christmas, friend. I pray you remember the priceless value of God’s gift to you this Christmas and always.
Do you have questions about Jesus and the grace I’m talking about? I’d be so excited and glad to talk to you about it. Just leave me a comment.
6 thoughts on “Litter & Faith: A Christmas Lesson”
Great post, Teresa. And I would have been frustrated, too.
In the midst of being literally bludgeoned to death by circumstance, I do find it hard, sometimes, to see the offered Grace. I mean, on top of everything else, breaking my face in a fall…and a likely metastasis to the bones of my right leg…I mean, this is excessive.
But there was a lovely sunrise today. And I had an idea for another short ebook. And I figured out how to articulate a set of toe brakes for the aeroplane I am still trying to build (the plans assume that one will use brakes actuated with one’s heels…kinda like a horse…Whoa!).
Small graces, but they distract one from pain, nausea, and the things that made my wife suggest – once – Depends.
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Thanks for reading, Andrew. Keep looking forward, friend.
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Thank you so much, Teresa, for this reminder, and for your faithfulness at posting how you see God in the everyday. It is encouraging and inspiring to me! Today, I am continuing something of Carl’s and have declared it “comment day”, over at my blog. So, I wanted to take a moment this fabulous Saturday morning to say, “Hello”! And, again, thank you! Your writing is so beautiful, encouraging, and inspiring. I hope you have a wonderful day and that God blesses you and your family abundantly in 2016! P.S. I would still love to do a FW day whenever your schedule allows. Much love!
Brook, thanks so much for your sweet comment! I need to venture over to your blog and catch up!