He was a homeless man. I don’t know his name. He didn’t want to be homeless, but one event after another had robbed him of the necessities of life. Now, he found himself spending each day going from place to place, just trying to survive.
Finally, a break came his way, and a painter offered him a job. The man slid a dirty sock over each foot and, taking his broken sandals, pressed one onto the bottom of each foot, using duct tape to wrap it around both shoe and sock until each sandal was firmly attached.
But he soon realized that he needed another pair of shoes for his new job. He had heard about a small church nearby that had a clothing room. He walked to the church and met the pastor, who welcomed him with a warm heart and outstretched arms. The pastor walked him back to the recently opened clothing room, and the two began to look for a pair of shoes.
As the man tried on pair after pair, the pastor realized they didn’t have any that fit. “What size do you wear?” he asked.
“Nines,” the homeless man replied. The pastor told him to search another area of the clothing room while he looked on the other side. As the man walked away, the pastor stepped around the corner and pulled off his gleaming white shoes, size nine.
“I found a pair!” the pastor yelled. He handed the homeless man the gorgeous pair of shoes. As the man admired them, he noticed the pastor was now standing in his stocking feet. He protested, but the pastor would hear nothing of it. He considered it a joy to give the man the shoes off his feet.
The next day, the pastor was visiting a friend who worked in a motorcycle shop, and the shop owner noticed the pastor’s dingy shoes. “Why are you wearing those?” the merchant asked.
“A homeless man came to my office yesterday needing shoes. The only pair we had that would fit him were the ones on my feet, so I gave them to him.”
“I need you to come with me,” the shop owner said, moving toward his car.
Getting into the car, the pastor asked, “Where are we going?”
“To get you a new pair of shoes. You do so much for so many; I don’t do nearly enough.”
The pastor protested, telling the man it was a joy to give to others. The shop owner pulled into the mall and took the pastor into a shoe store, where he bought him a new pair of shoes. (Author’s note: When I was interviewing the pastor for this article, he was reluctant to give me all of the details. So I might not have everything exactly correct, but what the pastor did is accurate.)
This same pastor has an older brother who, when he was in junior high, attended a football game on a cool, brisk evening. As he came into the house afterwards, his parents noticed he wasn’t wearing his new coat, and they feared the worst. “Where is your brand-new coat?” they yelled.
“There was a kid at the game who didn’t own a coat, and he was sitting there shivering. I have more than one coat, so I gave him mine. I’ll just wear my old one this winter,” he said calmly.
Humbled by their son’s sacrificial gift, the parents applauded the kindness of his heart.
There are many Scriptures about those who have the heart of Christ doing acts of service like this. Hebrews 13:16 says, “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
One day Jesus told his disciples a story about a bunch of religious do-gooders who thought they should be the first in line for heaven. The master told them they weren’t getting in, so immediately, they started listing all the religious things they had done.
But the wise master wasn’t interested in their religious recitation. He told them he had appeared to them hungry, naked, sick and in prison, and not a single one of them had stopped to help him.
Another group standing nearby didn’t look religious at all. But the master welcomed them into heaven, and they were quite surprised. When questioned, the master told them he had been hungry, sick, naked and in prison, and each one went out of their way to help him—not out of religious duty but a joyful heart.
The pastor has asked me not to mention his name in the article, so I won’t. But I will say one thing: Son, you make me proud.