On Stopping and More Tortillas

I stopped and talked to the homeless guy yesterday.

Yeah, that guy I’ve written about before. Ever present.  With the sign.

I drove up the ramp off the highway and the light was green so I didn’t have to stop and sit in the car next to him and his sign that reminds me he’s hungry and homeless while I wait.

I didn’t have to stare straight ahead, pretending I didn’t notice him.

The light was green.

The light said “go”

But I sensed the Spirit saying, “Stop.”

Ugggghhh.  I had a 23 second argument with God.

Then I drove through the green light and I pulled into a dead end street next to the fence that borders the exit and got out in the gray mist of an ugly October day.  I waded through the wet grass to the fence near him.

As I looked over the fence I felt kind of like I was beckoning a wild animal, but he recognized me and came over all friendly in his scruffyness.

We talked.  His name is Rick.  He’s 58.  He lost his job in shipping and receiving eight months ago.  He stays at a homeless shelter.  We talked about his options and if I could help.  I gave him a McDonald’s gift card.

Big deal.  So stupid.  A waste of time.  A crazy-futile gesture.  Just a 3 minute conversation.

It totally felt like the boring tortilla I’ve written about before.  No fancy-shmancy dramatic God-cake made with this girl’s flour and oil!

But then, a whisper from God.  A reminder of a powerful experience I had on Saturday that blind-sided me.

A friend approached me and said, “I’ve never told you this before, but…” (always a little scary when you hear those words).

She continued.  I paraphrase: “You remember that little thing you did (that ‘tortilla’ that you cooked up) 22 years ago?  I’ve never told you, but that tortilla was the thing God used to draw me and my husband back to Him.  That was the beginning of our spiritual journey to today.”

I was speechless.  No way.  I had had a tiny idea I thought would be a fun Jesus thing for our neighborhood.  It was such a tortilla, or a pancake or a pita offering!   But it was done with love and joy and somehow an extraordinary God made an eternal cake out of it.

So.  Wow.  Maybe (gasp) God really is at work, not me.  Maybe, there’s more going on here than meets my short-sighted eye.

Maybe my conversation with Rick, the homeless guy really was completely as plain as it felt.

Or perhaps, even though I can’t see it, God is cooking up another cake (even if it’s 22 years in the making).  I’m praying.

Have you had experiences like this of little promptings that seem like nothing?  

7 thoughts on “On Stopping and More Tortillas

  1. I’m sure I have (had the promptings) and I’m also wondering just how many of those I’ve simply ingnored. I know I will be looking more intently for them now.


  2. My heart skipped a beat when I read the first line of this post! Ever since your post about contemplating giving him Pastor John’s sport coat, I have been really aware of all of the moments that I have the urge to act, but hesitate. I love that you stopped when the light said GO! I can only imagine how he felt that you stopped, you parked, you walked TO him. That alone shows how much you care. I love it. What a beautiful act of kindness.


  3. One Maundy Thursday years ago, I slipped into a pew next to a fellow I knew. That wasn’t a high attendance service back then. We talked a bit when the opportunity presented itself. Years later that fellow shared with me that he was really hurting that day and it had meant so much to him that I came and sat with him. Whatever transpired that evening, whatever mindset was changed, he was going to share when he was chosen to speak in worship on behalf of the stewardship drive. It taught me that you never know to whom you are being an angel!


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