To The Least of These

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, February 19, 2014 0 comments

I woke up relatively early for a Saturday. I still had the bad habit of getting up early and getting a work out in before everyone was awake. For me, waking up at 7:30am was considered sleeping in especially because everyone in the dormitory was still asleep. There was no time to waste. I got up, got dressed, and went on a run. Running in Cleveland was much different from running at home. Back home was flat and easy. Cleveland had some significant hills and seemed like an endless concrete jungle. It was almost impossible to find a spot that was simply relaxing. It was nonstop hustle and bustle inside of this big city. The interesting thing about this busy city is that the greatest sights were its people. So many people of different backgrounds, upbringings, and traditions.

Seeing so many people made me think that maybe I should get out and meet some of these people. I determined that after I was done running, I would see if maybe I could talk to some of them. I ran about three miles to get acquainted with my surroundings. After returning to the dormitory, I cleaned up, changed clothes, and walked outside. I decided to walk toward Tower City, the Mall at Town Square. I came across someone on the way who caught my attention.

Aside from the fact that he was clearly homeless, he was shouting absolute nonsense in what sounded like a foreign language. In my naiveté, I decided to engage him in conversation.

“Hello.” I said.
He continued to speak nonsensical gibberish as though he did not even hear me.
“Hi, what’s your name?” I know, it sounded corny to ask a total stranger who had no interest in me what his name was, but I thought it was worth a shot.
He turned toward me, still speaking gibberish, but now he seemed angry. I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable. Nonetheless, I maintained my composure.
I asked him, “Do you know Jesus?”
He paused and took a few steps toward me. “Jesus works at First Federal Bank.”
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“Jesus works at First Federal Bank on the corner of 13th and Superior.” Was his response.
“Oooookay. Do you know him?”
“Of course I do. He’s up to some no good stuff over there. He’s working with the government to smuggle plutonium in from Russia.”
“I think we might be talking about two different people,“ I clarified, “I’m talking about Jesus in the Bible.”
“Me too.”
I let him ramble on a little while longer and realized that this conversation was going nowhere so I moved on. I saw a kind looking business man holding a door open as though he was waiting for someone. So I decided to talk with him.

I greeted him, “Hello!”
“Hi, what can I do for you?” he replied.
“Oh, I don’t need anything. I’m just on a personal quest. I was wondering, do you know who Jesus is?”
Without hesitation he replied, “Do you?”
I responded, “He is the Son of God; my Lord and my Savior.”
He shot back again, “How do you know that?”
“Well, when you know, you just kind of know.”

He was not satisfied with that. “But how do you know he is your Lord and Savior when some people might say that they have experienced Buddha or Allah or other gods.”

I felt it was a legitimate question but I did not know how exactly to reply. “I don’t think that Jesus is like any of them. I mean, I don’t know a whole lot about those religions but I believe that the Holy Spirit testifies concerning Jesus’ identity as God’s only Son.”

“I disagree, but good luck with your quest.” And then he went back inside of his building. There had to be somebody around here who knows Jesus! I was becoming discouraged but it was okay because I was nearing Tower City. The nice thing about this mall is that it has a decent selection of ethnic foods and so I tried a sampling of one of them inside of the food court. As I was eating a nice man in his late twenties called over to me from two tables down.

“Hi buddy!”
I hesitated because I did not expect someone to call over to me. “Um, hi. How are you?”
“Good. I saw you over there and I thought, ‘Wow, that guy is like Mr. Cool over there.’”
“Oh, why did you think that?”
He replied, “The outfit you have on looks like something you would see someone wearing on the cover of GQ.”
I looked at my clothes. Nothing special about them but this guy seemed really nice. “Thanks. Yeah, I was just kind of hanging out here. It seems like a nice place to hang out. Do you work here?”
“Yeah, I have been out here for a while. I just clean the tables and the floors. It’s a good job.”
“Thank you. You are doing a great job. What’s your name?” I asked.
“Keith, I have been on sort of a quest today. There are a lot of people who do not know who Jesus is around here. Do you know who Jesus is?
“Yeah, he is the Son of God. You see, I have lived with my grandma for a good while now and she has been taking me to church ever since I was little. I’m not very smart, but I do know who Jesus is.”
“God bless you, I think I knew that just from how kind you have been to me today.”

Keith could tell I was about to leave so he stopped me for a minute. “Could you pray for my grandmother, she isn’t doing well. I don’t have a mother or father, so all I have is her.”
I was a little uncomfortable with the request at the moment because we were in public, but this is what I was looking for. This man knew Jesus. In essence, he was my brother. And my brother was asking for prayer. “Absolutely.”

As a result, I felt that my journey was not in vain. I asked several other people if they knew Jesus on my way back to the dormitory, but their replies were negative. But I could not help but to think about my experience with Keith out at the mall. He was clearly not a super-intelligent person, he had a low-income job, but he reeked of the goodness of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, he was what Jesus was referring to when he said, “The least of these.”