12/16/11 Brian about 30
I used a Million Dollar bill gospel track to start a conversation with a man named Brian, who had just come out of a hardware store. "If this was real, how would you spend it?" I asked lightheartedly. He thought for a moment and told me he would spend it on a house and Christmas presents for Anthony, his girlfriend's 10 year old son. "I've lost my job, and I don't think we'll be able to get any Christmas presents for him" Brian told me, obviously upset about it. I asked if he believes in God and Brian said he wonders sometimes, because he doesn't see any answers to his prayers for Anthony. I talked a little bit about how we need to avoid the mistake of thinking God is simply like Santa who we only go to when we want something, or how we need to appreciate what he has given us rather than believe that somehow he owes us more, but in the end this seemed shallow. I offered to pray for them and Brian agreed, so I did. Afterward I wished God's blessing on him as I left. Dozens of scams by street hustlers here in Chicago have left me jaded about giving money to stangers on the street, but Brian was different. He hadn't approached me - I initiated the conversation - he never asked for money, and he did have a genuine need. After we went our separate ways I really felt like I had failed, like I had said what we are warned not to say in James 2:16 "Go in peace, keep warm and be well fed" without doing something to help. I pray I will be more responsive next time.