Walking home from lunch on Sunday, we ran into a guy we help from time to time. He hangs around the shopping center near the house and is never shy about asking for small change.
This particular instance, we took a minute to stop and talk with him. His name is Gift. He is a pretty nice fellow, just doesn’t have much, you know?
I asked him where he stayed and he pointed over to a pretty nice white house down the road. Why, if he stays there does he come and beg me for small change every day, I wondered… He must have seen the puzzled look in my eyes, so he explained.
“There is a little space behind that white house, a little bit of grass between the fence and the alley. A lot of us sleep there.”
He said, “Don’t you have anything for me today, boss?”
I told him that I didn’t have anything today. He told me that he understood. He asked if maybe next time I walk by if I wouldn’t mind dropping off some used clothes for him, maybe a shirt. His shirt did look worn out.
Then he really caught me…
“You know, boss, I know that when you have something you give it to me. And I know that when the time is right you’ll have a shirt for me or maybe some coins. You always do.”
What a picture of what God must yearn to hear from us.
Gift almost dances for joy when I give him a couple of dollars. Gift smiles even on the days when I have nothing to give him – which means that he really has nothing. And, I believe, that when he lays his head on the beaten down grass behind the white house next to the alley, he is hopeful that tomorrow might bring favor to him.
Gift is like a walking Psalm. I can hear him as the Psalmist now:
“Even when you withhold your favor, I will wait in anticipation for the day when Your blessings rain down on me again. Even when my cup is empty, I will praise You for You are fullness enough for me. And when the day comes when You again choose to let Your grace fall on me, I will dance with joy for I will have seen the face of God.”
I never thought much of giving to Gift. But through Him, God has shown me a beautiful picture of what a cheerful receiver looks like. I have seen a beautiful heart, expectant of God’s goodness and joyful even in lack. I have seen the heart of a man that I hope I can learn to be more like.