Sunday, August 12, 2007

Her Name was “Angel”

* Note: I started writing this while still at my old job downtown *

It started out as a pretty normal day, and then just got weird from there. By “normal”, I mean that my alarm went off, prayed with my wife (we pray together every morning. Out loud) and I got up and got ready for work. Once I left the house though, it was clear that I was no longer in control of this day.

On the drive into downtown, I found myself behind one of those big box type trucks. Great. With the route I take to work, there are very few places I will be able to try to get around this guy. However, that was not necessary. That box truck must have been in a real hurry, because I made it to work in record time! What I thought would take longer than usual, turned out to be a real quick trip.

Later that morning I had to leave the office for a meeting. The employee parking lot is a block away on a one-way street. Between the office and the parking lot is a grocery store whose parking lot entrances (driveways) are along this one-way street. Since cars turn into this lot from the left lane, you need to be careful while walking across one of these driveways. One car turned into the lot before I reached the driveway, but the car behind it stopped so that I could cross. I hesitated since that car had clearly gotten there first. I glanced over at the car and noticed the woman driver watching me, looking me up and down. Holy Crap! That lady was oogling me! Now, I know that guys oogle women all the time (I don’t because, really, what’s the point? My wife is the most gorgeous woman on the planet, so why would I oogle anyone else?) But this was weird! I’d never been oogled before (at least, that I am aware of).

The rest of the day seemed to go okay. The meeting went well and the rest of the day went by pretty much uneventful.

After leaving the office to go home, I began that block-long walk to the parking lot.

An elderly woman was about to cross the street, but turned back and headed toward me.
She didn’t look homeless or appear to be like most of the transients I meet in this area (usually about two or three a week, looking for money). She asked if I knew of the nearest food pantry since she needed some basics, like milk, bread and eggs. She named off a few places in the area and said they were already closed and that there was no one at the church across the street.

I tried to think of someplace else nearby, and was about to mention the local mission a couple of blocks away. Before I could say the name she said, “The Wheeler Mission is only for men.”

“Oh” (I didn’t know that).

Then it occurred to me that we were close to a grocery store. I offered to go with her into that store and buy her whatever she needed. She declined, saying that she’d already been in there. I assured her that I would pay for whatever items she needs, but she said she needed to go across the street to the church so she could pray.

I reminded her that God hears our prayers wherever we are and we don’t have to go to a church to pray, and that she could pray right there on the sidewalk with me. She insisted she needed to go to the church to pray, since she felt closer to God that way. She said that in that church, she had a “special place” to pray.

Before she walked away, I asked her what her name was.

She said, “My name is Angel”.

I told her she must truly be an angel since she just saved me the long walk to the parking lot. I had forgotten that I had parked in the grocery store parking lot next to the office when I returned from my meeting earlier. (Otherwise I wouldn’t have run into her at all). As I drove out of the parking lot, I could see “Angel” making her way through the prayer garden of the old church across the street.

I’ve been reading a book lately called “Irresistible Evangelism”. I’m only about halfway through it, but so far I have come to further understand what the Bible means when it talks about sharing the gospel. Jesus told the disciples to share the good news with all nations (everyone), to make disciples, and he told Peter to “Feed My sheep”. He didn’t tell them (or us) to increase our church membership or cram our own personal religious beliefs down someone’s throat, He told us to be “Christ” to others.

In other words, He told them to follow His example.

Evangelism means to show the example of Jesus’ love to everyone we meet. The English word evangelism is a combination of eu, the New Testament Greek word for “good” (as in euphoria) and aggelos (as in Los Angeles), the biblical word that is most often translated as “angel” or “messenger”. Believe it or not, but the literal meaning of evangelism is being a “good angel”.

Basically, anyone who God sends to communicate His purposes is an aggelos or angel, even if you don’t have wings or a halo.

Have you ever shown Christ’s love to someone, just because it is the loving thing to do? Without trying to get them to recite the sinner’s prayer? Without trying to get them to come to your church or join your group?

I've written before about a couple of times I’ve encountered angels. You can read about them here and here.

Have you ever just been as “Christ” to someone? Just demonstrating God’s love in a practical way. We’re supposed to treat everyone like that whether or not we like the way they dress, or the way they wear their hair, or the color of their skin, or whatever.

Just think – YOU could be someone’s “angel”.

How about starting with people you already know, like your family, with the folks in your own home? That’s always been the hardest for me but I try. And starting today, I’m going to try even harder to demonstrate God’s love in a practical way for my wife and my kids.

What are Your thought on this?



Anonymous said...

Inspirational story, and a timely challenge.

HeiressChild said...

i agree!

EE said...

Let me try this again. My computer (which I just got back) kept shutting down on me last night when I tried to comment.
Your post has inspired me to be more "angelic" towards my family. For the past week, I have been irritated and impatient with the lot of them:( I find that sometimes it's easier to be nicer to others than those at home.
I'm going to make a conscience (how do you spell that?) effort starting right now...