He sat in a corner under the bridge. It was raining so he huddled against the wall, wrapped in his dingy blankets, trying to keep warm. He longed for a cup of coffee but he didn’t want to go out into the wet to beg. From where he sat, he could see the busy street and the heavy traffic. He watched the people walking to their jobs, schools, slipping into coffee shops or heading down to the subway. He used to be like that. He used to be going somewhere. He didn’t walk though. He was driven wherever he needed to go. He used to watch the crowds from the back of a limo, tapping his fingers impatiently as he had to sit in traffic. While they were out in the cold or rain, he was warm or dry in the limo. Life treated him very well. He had it all but then he lost it all…
He started when he saw a van approach and stop. It sat there for a couple of minutes before the doors opened and two young people emerged. Slowly, they approached him. He was not thrilled about this intrusion. He was never one for socializing. He only dealt with people when he had to. His relationships had failed because he was not ready for any commitments and marriage was not on the radar. He didn’t have any friends—only acquaintances. He was satisfied with how life was. It had been lonely at times but he had his millions to keep him comfortable. Then, he had lost it all through bad investments…
They went under the bridge and stood opposite to where he sat. The girl smiled at him. She looked about twenty. Under the grey hood were wisps of blonde hair. She was pretty in a simple sort of way. Not the type he would have been interested in or even considered dating. Coming closer, she said, “Hi, I am Jenny and this is Mark. We are with the Hands of Love program. We are a ministry that provides sandwiches and hot tea to the homeless.” She reached into the bag she was carrying and took out something wrapped in foil. Mark had a cup in his hand. They both held out their hands for him to take what they were offering.
He hesitated. This seemed a little too good to be true. He eyed them with suspicion. He was never one to believe that you get something for nothing. And he couldn’t believe that people would go to all of this trouble for someone in his situation. He never lifted a finger to help anyone in need. He had looked at the homeless with disgust, thinking that they had gotten themselves in that mess and that he wasn’t going to waste his hard earned money on the likes of them. Little did he know that one day he would be in their shoes. And here were these two perfect strangers who were offering him something to eat and drink and his old selfish nature was struggling to grasp this reality. They must want something in return, but what could he possibly give them? He had nothing.
“What do you want from me?” he demanded, his eyes challenging as he looked at the girl. Her smile didn’t waver. She didn’t seem at all put out. “Nothing,” she assured him. “I don’t want anything from you. I am here to show you that you are not alone and that there is a Savior who loves you.”
His expression grew hard. “Savior who loves me?” he asked. “Where was He when I lost everything?” He knew that he wasn’t been fair. Bad investments got him where he was. He had had not use for the Bible or Jesus when he was enjoying his millions. Now that he was broke, he felt an irrational anger toward God.
The girl said to him, “He was there all the time. It was not His will that you should lose everything and end up here but it is not too late for Him to help you. All you need to do is trust Him. I will leave you a Bible and there’s a story that I think you should read. It’s about the rich young man.”
The rich young man? His curiosity was piqued. He wanted to read the story. “Okay, I will read the story but I would like to have the sandwich and tea now.” He took the sandwich and tea. He carefully set the cup down and ripped open the foil. He hungrily bit into the sandwich.
The girl went over to the van and came back with a small Bible which she set down next to the cup of tea. “We have to go now,” she said. “Before we leave, would you like us to pray for you?”
He shook his head. “No thanks,” was all he managed to say as he devoured the sandwiches.
The young people turned and headed back to the van. They drove away and he was alone again.
In no time the sandwiches were eaten. He carefully crunched up the foil and tossed it away. He wished he had asked them for money. He was going to be hungry again. He reached for the cup of tea, savoring the heat against his fingers. As he sipped the hot liquid, he thought of the two young people, especially the girl, who intruded upon his world. She was not intimidated by him or discouraged by his rudeness. Her demeanor had not changed. Her face was filled with a joy and peace that he had never experienced. Where did she get it from? He remembered the Bible she had left and he picked it up. He saw that she had marked the page where the story of the Rich Young Man was. Why that story? He wondered. Why did she pick that particular story? She couldn’t have known that he was once a rich man could she?
He opened the Bible to Mark 10 and began to read. When he got to the end of the story, he felt that it was speaking about him. He had put his millions before God. His money had become his god. Then, he lost it all and now he was homeless. If he had only accepted the invitation to accept Christ, he would not be here. Was it too late?
“When you seek me, you will find me. I am always here.” Those words brought tears to his eyes and he found himself sobbing.
“Lord, forgive me for loving my money more than you. Forgive me for being selfish and uncaring to others.” A peace that he never knew existed came over him and he knew that God was there with him. He was not alone. His life was about to change again but this time it was for the best. It had to take becoming broke and losing everything before he would accept the blessings of God. It was a hard lesson to learn but it paid off.