Jesus wept.” John 11:35
It still gives me reason to pause. It was years ago…more than ten but less than twenty. A couple of the people in the story belong to me—one by blood and one by marriage. The other, Danny, was a stranger that they encountered. As they causally bumped into each other that day, their lives were changed…maybe not forever but for the moment. But every time this story is told, the change lives on.
It all started when my son-in-law Blake and his wife and my daughter Sarah were taking a walk. After a while, they noticed a man walking his bike down the sidewalk coming towards them. As he drew closer, they noticed he had a military bag full of stuff and looked exhausted and was limping and wearing a pair of broken-down old shoes. As they passed, he politely said hello even joking about his limp and how he was walking off some blisters he had.
After they walked on a few more feet it struck Blake that this guy was probably homeless—obviously lonely and hurting. At that moment Blake turned to my daughter and said they should at least try to help him. So, they hurried home and Blake found a nearly new pair of shoes, some socks, and a bag of snacks and drinks and headed out to find his new friend. He found him a block or so away. He said, “Hey man what size shoe do you wear?” He replied he didn’t know what size he wore and then began to share some of his story. He had a “hard, knock life.”
He explained to Blake that he had hit a rough time after coming home from serving in the military and had just had a terrible day—probably not the only one he had experienced. After talking for a few minutes, Blake offered him the shoes and socks and told him he hoped this would help with the blisters. He then offered him the food and drinks. It was obvious the man hadn’t eaten in a while and when he saw the food, his broad smile was better than any spoken thank you. Then, they exchanged names and a handshake and Danny went his way and Blake his. Then…something unexpected happened to Blake.
Blake told me later that as he walked away, he began to cry and with each step away from Danny, the tears flowed more freely. Some say real men don’t cry and that of course is not true. The Bible says that the greatest man ever to live shed some tears. In the shortest verse in the New Testament, it says, “Jesus wept.” But those two words speak volumes. It speaks of a Man who wasn’t afraid to touch the untouchable or love the unlovable. It speaks of a man who was willing to give what He had to help others—including His own life.
My son-in-law would tell you he doesn’t always get it right. He would tell you that he is in fact far from perfect. But this father-in-law will tell you this is one time he knocked it out of the park—a walk-off homer. And all he did was what all of us should do…love our neighbor. If we are Jesus followers that is not only expected—it should be a rite of passage. To follow Jesus, we should be like Jesus. That day Blake did something that Jesus would have done. First, he saw and then he did something. How cool is that?
Blake said that he was moved, struck, with the reality that there are people all around us that are hurting…beat up and cast down by life and it’s crazy circumstances. That day, Blake didn’t even have the money to buy Danny a meal, but do you know what he did? He did what he could and that was enough. So, how about you? The next time you find a someone who looks a little like Danny, will you do what you can? Will I? I know it can be risky, but I also know that it is always pleasing to our Heavenly Father.
We don’t have to be zillionaires to make a difference. That day, Blake was broke, but he discovered a great lesson—the power of a simple gift, a kind word, and warm handshake. And whether he knew it or not, he also discovered that there is a God, some of us call Him Dearest Daddy, who loves us and loves it when we act like Him. He also found out what I and perhaps you, already know, “He’s got that.” Bro. Dewayne