By Scott Budzar
Continued from Angels Dig Coffee
Then on New Year’s Eve we decided to take our kids to see a family movie at the local theater. (Free popcorn on Mondays!) I just happened to grab that Starbuck’s gift card and bring it with us. As we pulled up to park I noticed a homeless man standing outside of the theater.
I know he is homeless, because we have met before… and that was over a cup of coffee and a danish roll outside of Starbuck’s where he could not go in because he needed to be a paying customer and so I bought him a cup and simply allowed him to be just that. I instantly remembered how much he loves coffee too and so as I approached him from across the parking lot I reached for my Starbuck’s gift card and I went right to him and said, “This is for you.”
He just looked at me slightly stunned and said thank you. I told him I didn’t know how much was on the card as my brother never told me. I told him there’s gotta be at least ten bucks on it. I just looked him in the eyes, grabbed his cold calloused hands and I said, “You’re welcome”. He just kept saying thanks and expressed his gratitude a half dozen times more as we went into the theater. When we came out he was not around.
My hopes were for the Starbuck’s gift card to allow this homeless man to be a customer and then that in turn would buy him some time (in the Corpo world) in order to stay warm. Perhaps you’re thinking why not get him to a shelter. Well, that is not always a desire of the homeless especially if they’ve been surrounded by rejection for so long.
The outcast feels much more at home when they are left alone. This is not what God wants. So we, O Church, must find ways to interfere with the enemy’s plans as ambassadors of Christ. Giving stuff away for free, out of love, especially large cups of joe, always messes with the devil.
So maybe you’re saying that’s nice or that’s cool. Dear reader it gets a little better.
The following day, New Year’s Day, I got up early and jumped in my minivan and began to head to Ravenna to pick up donated bakery items from a grocery store that I get to save from their fatal doom of ending up in dumpsters and then distribute them to three shelters and to other friends in need.
And that’s when it happened.
I stopped at a light next to Starbuck’s – and guess who walked out of Starbuck’s? That’s right!! My homeless friend. He had a tray full of coffees and a mid-size carrying bag full of muffins and tasty breads!!! “Holy crap!”, I said in my mind, “How much was on that gift card!?!?”
I unrolled my window and said hello. He saw me and shouted thank you with a huge grin as he hoisted up his gatherings above his head like it was a grand prize! I said we gotta do coffee again some time soon and reminded him that God was truly watching over us. He turned and said he owed me one and would like to get me dinner some time. I joyfully accepted his invitation and told him that I would hold him to it.
So I headed off to the east on the snow covered Route 59 and he ventured west by foot carrying the delights and fruits of his morning hunt. There was the exchange of just things that brought us closer. Some coffee, hellos, a thank you and a you’re welcome set us up for another encounter some day soon.
Ooops!! Did I fail to mention his name to you? My apologies. For this homeless man’s name shall make this story even more than just a story but a treasured encounter with my King.
He told me his name is: Angel.
A statue of an angel, a Starbuck’s gift card and a homeless Angel that digs coffee.
My beloved friends – God is very near to us.
Scott is 37 and the senior pastor of the Vineyard Community Church in Kent, Ohio. His wife Beth is his hero, and together they have three gorgeous-heart-stealing daughters and an energy-packed-love-soaked son. He is co-founder of Anonymous Relief Mission (www.anonrelief.org ) which hunts down furniture and basic necessities and furnishes apartments, one family at a time, for folks coming directly out of homelessness.