Are You Grateful?

Recently, I was reminded of the blessing of a warm cup of coffee. At a local coffee shop the door flew open and a tall scrubby bearded man with filthy clothes and worn out shoes plopped down on the leather chair. Separated only by a small table and a different life experience I immediately recognized this God encounter.

A little apprehensive, I turned to the unfamiliar man slumped over and asked, “Can I buy you a cup of coffee?”

The gruff man lifted his head when he heard my voice, his tender eyes met mine, and he nodded with enthusiasm, “Sure. I would like that.”

When I returned with the coffee he politely thanked me for the kind gesture. Delighted to make his day and surprised by his gentleness I asked, “So what brings you to this community?”

That’s when I learned his story. He had lived in this area twenty-four years ago before his parents sold their home. When his parents packed boxes to move across country, Mark loaded a back-pack to walk a different direction. And he never stopped. What became comfortable became normal.

I discovered that Mark knew God’s Word from reading the Gideon Bible he had stolen from a motel. Aware that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty of his sin, Mark confessed, “I like my beer, but I know God wants me to stop drinking and start helping people.” Sitting inches from him I heard the clarity of his mind, coherent of his past, and self-aware of his pride that prevented him from getting help.

“God has a plan and a purpose for your life,” I proclaimed. “You’re going to clean-up real well. God is going to use you in a mighty way to help others. Did you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit when you invited Jesus into your heart? You need to start taking care of what God has blessed you with. It’s a miracle you’re even alive. God has protected you all these years.”

Straightening up in his chair Mark looked encouraged. The weathered face of this 49-year-old man grinned under his large crooked nose. “You have no idea what God has saved me from,” he said nodding as he reminisced in his thoughts, “I’m very thankful.”

Talking to this man convicted me of how much I had to be thankful for. We had taken two different paths, but God brought us together in a coffee shop for a purpose. When my friend stood up to leave, with a furrowed brow Mark looked into my eyes and asked, “Do you have to leave too?” Disappointment filled his voice, “I thought you could hang out with me all day.”

I chuckled realizing he was probably serious and extremely lonely. I said, “Let’s go outside.” As we walked toward the warmth of the sun I asked if I could pray for him. He welcomed my prayer for protection, wisdom, and courage to get the help he needed. I noticed how his countenance had changed from when I first met him.

Delighted when Mark promised to go to the San Diego Rescue Mission, I gave him a hug. Filled with joy that God could use me, I hoped Mark would take the steps in the right direction to make a new “normal” for himself. But as I walked away, I realized this wasn’t about God using me. It was about God using Mark to show me how much I have to be grateful for: a warm cup of coffee, a roof over my head, food in the cupboard, the beauty of a butterfly, birds chirping, my precious family and friends.

I’m grateful for a homeless man who gave me a new perspective.

Ask yourself: What are you grateful for?

May God continue to pour His abundant blessings upon you and your family. He knows your every need.

God's Word To Live By:

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Psalm 100:4-5
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Colossians 2:6-7
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened by faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Philippians 1:3
I thank my God every time I remember you.

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1 Comment

  1. Donna

     /  November 23, 2012

    Wow Kirsten- What a lovely post! Thank you for it!


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