I pulled up to the stop light at a nearby shopping center, easing my brakes after a quick trip to Target. Luke was with me, sitting directly behind my seat, perched on his booster and talking about eight-year-old things.
This red light tends to attract the homeless community. It is not a rarity to find a man or a woman standing in the hot afternoon sun, holding a crumbled cardboard sign asking for help. I recognize most of them. The same few faces rotating turns at the busy intersection.
But this particular afternoon, a new face stood hot in the August sun. A man of tall stature. His face long and worn, his long legs covered by tattered jeans, his feet in worn plastic sandals. His forty-year-old eyes didn’t make contact with me, or another car lined behind me. I watched him, taking in his situation and my heart unusually drawn to him.
When I approached the light it was freshly red. Giving me plenty of time to sit next to this tall needy man. I leaned toward to the passenger seat beside me. The seat empty of a Crenshaw but not of cargo. I did my due diligence to bring most of Target home with us. But I knew that somewhere buried in the bottom of a red and white bag was an unopened bag of peppermint candy. So I snatched the only two dollars cash I had from my purse and searched for the tiny Star Lights.
The light was nearing green, so I hurried down my window and called him over with my outstretched arm. When he held out his hand, I motioned him to cup is hand to catch the peppermints. When he did, his eyes caught mine and he thanked me with a “God Bless You.”
At that the light turned green. I “God Blessed him” back and gently pressed the gas to set the line of traffic in motion behind me.
“Who was that man?” Luke asked.
“He was a man who needed a little help today.”
“So you gave him a peppermint?”
I chuckled at Luke’s honesty. I guess that does appear a little odd to help a brother out with a piece of candy.
“Yes, I helped him with a peppermint. I gave him a couple of dollars, too. He doesn’t have a home and he is probably hungry. But I thought he might like something sweet today.”
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8
As I drove off the Lord reminded me of this Scripture. Immediately.
I prayed over him — the man at the intersection. I prayed that the candy in his mouth would mimic a similar response in his heart. I prayed that the sweetness of that mint would break through the pain and the heat and the heartbreak of life and bless him with the sweetness of the Lord.
Jesus is the Star Light in our darkest days. And once we have a taste, we are undone. His sweetness satisfies the unseen hungers in our souls. He meets our needy palettes and delights our life in unexpected ways.
And as God’s people, we are sent to be Star Lights for him. Sweet aromas of a Living God who came to live and die and turn hearts of stone to flesh.
Today, we are peppermints. We are salt. We are light. We are the voice in the desert crying out. Break the silence today. And may we hurry for the time is drawing near. The light is about to change. Let us not miss an opportunity to extend an outstretched arm and motion a needy heart towards a God who satisfies.
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16