They were sitting in the restaurant enjoying their meal. The little boy was busily eating his french fries and driving his race car on the table. The little girl was dipping her chicken in sauce and playing with the miniature doll that had come with her meal.
Mom was enjoying her food too, but she was enjoying watching those babies more than anything. Watching them play and laugh with each other. Listening to the bantering going on back and forth between brother and sister. Noticing out of the corner of her eye, the people looking their way..some smiling, some not so happy that this lady wouldn't keep those kids quiet. But really, they weren't that loud and the mom couldn't help but feel that everyone should enjoy the laughter of kids.
Looking at her watch, she realized they needed to be leaving. Telling the kids to finish up, she began gathering up the trash, refilling the drinks and rounding up the toys.
As they left the restaurant, she noticed a man leaning against the side of the building. While she wasn't afraid, there was a bar across the street and even though it was the middle of the day, there was a steady stream of people going in and out. She took the hand of each one of her children and picked up her pace just a bit.
With a smile and a nod, she walked past the man.
She heard him say as she passed, "Got a few dollars to spare?"
She felt a nudge in her heart. Something inside telling her she had the ability to meet the need this man had.
But...turning she said, "No, sorry."..and kept walking towards her car.
Her mind began racing with thoughts, trying to justify why she'd walked away.."He probably wants some money to go get drunk at the bar. I'm not going to give over our hard earned money so someone can get drunk." " My goodness, there are help wanted signs all over town, why doesn't he get a job!" "I'm not going to put my kids in danger. Nothing is worth that." "Somebody will give him a couple of bucks, I'm sure."
She buckled the kids in and sat down in the car. For a moment she paused. Then she heard, in a very clear voice, "He's hungry."
"He's hungry. You should have fed him. Sat with him while he ate."
She was confident now that she had ignored the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
She looked around, but couldn't see the area of the restaurant where he'd been standing. Telling the kids to unbuckle and grabbing her purse, she headed back towards the restaurant...but he was gone.
They went inside and looked around, maybe someone else had fed him, but he wasn't there.
She waited for several minutes by the bathroom, but no one went in, or came out.
Back outside, they walked all the way around the building, but she had to face facts....the man was gone....and she had blew it.
"Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!" Hebrews 13:2, NLT
Slowly walking back to the car, she realized she had missed out on having a meal with Jesus. She realized that He'd been standing before her, and she had walked on by.
True, she didn't know what the man wanted the money for, but instead of walking away, she could have taken him back inside and used the money to buy him some food.
She sat in the car and explained all of this to her children, confessing to them how she had ignored God and missed out on a chance to get to know Him better.
She encouraged her children to pay attention to those around them and to act when they knew God was leading them to do something for Him.
With tears in her eyes, she confessed her sin to God and begged Him for one more chance....He forgave her sin, but didn't give her another chance to right the wrong.
............I learned a great lesson that day: When God is prompting you to do something for Him, He will give you everything you need, including safety. He won't bring you to what He isn't willing to bring you through. Now, I try very hard to pay attention to the prompting of His Spirit. I still fail to hear Him at times, but the sorrow of missing out on His blessings that day is forever burned in my soul. I hope it will always be there to remind me that obedience to God is not optional.