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“I’ve been praying for you,” he told me. But this was not news to me. He had told me before. Only I didn’t know he was praying again. Then again, maybe he had never stopped.
“Really?” I said delightedly as I rested my carton box in my arms as I prepared to pass out the latest issue of the Walk by Faith Devotional in print.
We engaged in conversation only briefly, for I was a woman on a mission. Hand out the devotionals and head home. I had already been to church where I am so privileged to love and serve the homeless and others in need. Now I had stopped by a nearby homeless outdoor outreach to share the love, joy, and peace in my heart God has given me with more of my friends. For the homeless, and the impoverished, and the broken and downtrodden, they are my friends. And this friend in particular had a message for me on that particular day.
The message wasn’t that he was praying for me. As blessed as I am to learn people are praying for me, and I most assuredly can use it daily as I seek to pursue my life’s calling, the message my homeless friend had for me is one I am not even certain he knew he had given me.
Who am I, and who are we, and who is this world, to ever pridefully and arrogantly judge the success and significance and value of a single human being based on that person’s appearance, clothing, haircut, bank account, resume, size house, number of friends, accomplishments, awards, or anything at all for that matter as far as the outside of a human being is concerned? Is this really what matters?
What really matters, my friend? The $150 haircut, the perfect manicure, the Lexus, the brand new oceanfront vacation home, the invitation to a famous friend’s house, the 10-page resume, the girls’ night out, the shopping sprees, the size television, the season’s pass to a favorite football team, the countless degrees? How many times we go to church each week? How many Bible verses we have memorized? How good we look to the world around us? How many good deeds we do for others to see? How many stocks and bonds we have? What kind of reputation we have in the eyes of the world?
What really matters? Is it not our faith in Him and love for Him? Is it not our obedience to Him and humility before Him? Is it not our worship of Him and service to Him? Is it not our love for Him demonstrated in our acts of love toward others? Is it not that we seek Him and seek to bring glory to His name in all that we do? Is it not that we love and forgive others with the love He has given us? Is it not that we commit to live according to His ways rather than the world’s? Is it not our very hearts? And our words and actions? All in the eyes of the Lord rather than in the eyes of the world?
My homeless friend will likely never bear any true significance or value in the eyes of this world. He just doesn’t look and act the part of what our society expects a man of success to be. His appearance and circumstances do not meet the standards of this world. But in the eyes of the Lord, oh my! Does not the Lord look with piercing eyes through all of our appearances and exteriors and masks and disguises and all such things to look inside our hearts.
How beautiful to see the heart of a humble, homeless man waiting in line for his next meal as he shares with me that he has been praying for me while the world rushes by trying to accomplish its accomplishments, so often too busy for the Lord and the Lord’s work. How precious, and humbling, to hear how the homeless man with a message is sweetly, kindly, lovingly praying for someone who for all intents and purposes is really a stranger. Only, in the eyes of the Lord, I am no stranger. I am the homeless man’s friend. And he is mine. And we are God’s. Failures perhaps we are in the eyes of the Lord.
But what really matters?
1Sa 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.