What would you do?

It’s a Tuesday afternoon and the church secretary is alone at the church office doing her routine tasks when someone knocks on the door. Outside, there is a man in raggedy clothing with long un-combed hair. He looks questionable to say the least. He is riding a bicycle and there is several old grocery bags tied around the handlebars and he has a backpack that he just sat down by the church steps.

Being there alone, the secretary, Carol, is nervous about opening the door and letting the gentleman in, as she should be.

Normally, she would just ignore him until he went away. But now, her church is a Good Samaritan Church! She politely tells the stranger to have a seat on the steps and someone will meet with him as soon as possible.

She goes back to the office and pulls out her list of all the Good Samaritans at the church. She quickly realizes that Freddy is retired and calls him first. Freddy’s wife answers the phone but unfortunately he is at a doctor’s appointment and can’t help anytime soon.

She quickly finds another name on the list. She sees that Bob works first shift will be getting off any minute now. She calls Bob and within fifteen minutes he is at the church greeting the guest on the steps.

Bob introduces himself and invites the man in out of the cold. After introductions and some small talk, Bob explains that he is there on behalf of the church. As he pours them both a cup of coffee, Bob asks if it’s okay to take some notes while they talk. He gets out his ministry report and begins by asking the gentleman some basic information. The man’s name is Daryl.

Because Bob knows what to look for, he is listening intently and also taking notes. He finds out that Daryl has been homeless for many years. He has lived in homeless camps and under bridges most of the time. Alcohol has been one of the biggest struggles over the years. He’s only fifty two years old but you would swear that he was at least 70. A hard life has taken its toll on the body.

Daryl is asking for a motel room for a few nights to escape the cold. Bob knows the church has enough money in the benevolence fund to do this, but he also knows that a motel room will more than likely not solve any real problems for Daryl. If anything, it might prolong them.

Out of a heart full of wisdom and love, Bob offers to take him for an early lunch. During their meal Bob tells him about a wonderful mission in downtown Augusta where they serve two hot meals each day, offer free lodging, and even have resources to help with the alcohol problem. It’s an hour away from their smaller, more rural town, but Bob knows if he can get him there, he will get real help.

At first, Daryl is reluctant. But after considering his options, and with winter approaching, he takes Bob up on the offer. Since it will be after check in hours by the time they arrive, Bob makes a quick call to Keith, the Director of the mission and lets him know that he is bringing Daryl.

Keith tells the mission cook that a man named Daryl will be coming in after supper. The cook is a man named James. He’s in his mid seventies and knows all- to- well what it’s like to be in Daryl’s position. He was there ten years ago himself. He wraps up a plate of food and sticks it in the microwave so Daryl will have a meal when he arrives.

Before long, Bob and Daryl are in the car headed to Augusta. It’s a long ride so Bob takes the opportunity to share his testimony. With tears in his eyes, Bob finally says “you know Daryl, what God did for me, he’ll also do for you”.

When they finally get to the mission, there are lots of tears. Daryl and Bob spend another five minutes in the parking lot praying. As Daryl lifts his head, he feels a burden lift from his heart. He just asked the Lord to forgive him and save him. With an expectation he has never know before, he walks through the doors.

He is greeted by two jovial fellows, Scott and John. After a little paperwork is done, he makes up his bed and meets James, the cook. As he enjoys his reheated meal that the folks at Canaan Baptist Church brought down earlier that day, he ponders what would have happened if that church secretary would have ignored him. He then thinks to himself, “How did Bob know that I needed all this more than that cheap hotel room?”

He takes another bite as he thinks it all over. He swore a long time ago that he would never go back to another mission. But Bob was different. That church was different. James was different. Daryl was different!

Thanks for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this little story. I have seen scenarios like this play out hundreds of times. What it takes is compassionate people who know what to do in a given situation. I have developed a plan that any church can adopt so that they are ready when the opportunity arises, when a Daryl comes to your steps.

God bless,

Travis Sharpe

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