Time for Jesus
Strangers rushed passed on the crowded sidewalk. Cars honked loudly as someone ran a red light. People came in and out of stores, restaurants, and coffee shops, laughing without a care, oblivious to the distress he felt. All the different smells of food made Tony’s stomach flip. The sun shone-he saw it glinting off the cars- but he didn’t feel its warmth or light. The breeze blew-it felt cold. He tried to forget the last 2 years. Everything had happened so fast. The late night rendezvous’ with his “friends.” The stealing. The drinking. Then the drugs- marijuana, heroin. He couldn’t even count all the regrets he had, all the mistakes he had made in his short 18 years. He was sick of his life. He was sick of failing. He was sick of this world. He wanted it to end. He stopped by a brick wall and slumped down on the concrete next to a trash can. Dejected. Alone.
Mandy strolled out of the Starbucks with a caramel mocha in her hand. The breeze rustled her hair as she walked along the sidewalk in New York City. People flooded past her- women chattering on cell phones, men hurrying along with briefcases. Rushing, running, bustling. No one has time, she thought. No time for sons. Or daughters. Or religion. No time for…Jesus. It’s true, I have put Him off many times, too, she mused. But I wish people had more time for Him. She peeked at her watch. 1:30. She only had 15 minutes to get to her young ladies’ Bible study. She quickened her pace. Suddenly, she felt a pull on her heart. She slowed down her fast clip. Not need to have a heart attack, she thought. But she felt it again, a little tug on her heart. Glancing across the street, she sighted a man, dressed in shabby clothes, sitting on the sidewalk. His head was between his knees. He wasn’t moving. She peered closer and thought she saw his shoulders heave. Is he…crying? She thought. Oh my. I hope he’s ok. She suddenly felt compelled to go speak to him. No, no, I’m late as it is. But she just couldn’t walk away. Is this You, God? Mandy prayed. ‘Go speak to him.’ But God, what if he’s dangerous? What if he is drunk or drugged? What if he has a weapon? And I’m late! Mandy argued. Go speak to him, Mandy. It then dawned on her that just a few minutes ago she had condemned the busy New Yorkers for not having time for God. “The King will reply, truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” What a hypocrite I am, she chided herself. Pushing away her fear, she started across the street.
Tony sobbed once more and then wiped his eyes. He hadn’t tried to bite back the tears, knowing that nothing he did short of riding an elephant down the street would draw attention. “Excuse me, are you ok?” A clear voice came from above him. He glanced up just a bit. A young woman, maybe around his age, was standing next to him. Concern filled her eyes. “I’m fine,” he muttered, his head still between his knees. He scooted away from her a little. “Are you sure you’re ok?” He gave the slightest nod. He expected her to walk away now or at least leave a dollar or two by his side. That’s what most people did. But he heard her voice again, closer, softer. “Do…” Her voice trailed off. “Do you want me to pray for you?” He peeked out. She was kneeling beside him. Tears sprang to his eyes again. He ducked his head and hope she hadn’t noticed. No one had ever, in his whole life, asked to pray for him. “Listen, I don’t know your name, or what you’ve been through or even what you’re going through now, but I’m going to pray for you.” And she did, right there on the sidewalk. When she ended, Tony realized he had reached out and grasped her hand. Tears were running down his cheeks uncontrollably. She smiled the smile of an angel, and after he let go of her hand, she got up and walked away down the sidewalk.
Do you have time for Jesus? “The King will reply, truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” – Matthew 25:40