I was leaving the Las Vegas Airport in a rental car when I saw him. Disheveled, limping, he plopped a backpack on the median at a highway intersection, opened a zipper and pulled out a sign.
As I drew closer, he unfolded the cardbord and I could read it:
"Why lie?" the sign read. "I want beer."
No stranger to the homeless, I was still struck by the honesty of the sign ... and touched by the reality of this man's plight.
That lone sign touched off a series of ideas, starting with, "How should I respond to that as a Christian?"
The wheels churned in my mind (and on my rental car). Long after I had lost this opportunity, I arrived at a solution: I could have stopped at a store and purchased a beer, then delivered it to this man with a Bible and a note that said: "This beer is from God my friend. Enjoy it. And when it is gone, and you are still thirsty, read this book and find the water of life."
I wasn't able to follow through on the idea, but the image of that man stayed with me. Some days later, I wondered what kind of sign I should be flying.
"But you aren't homeless," some might protest.
Think again. I and all my Christian brothers and sisters are in temporary shelters (however modest or grandiose) awaiting our places in the Lord's mansion.
"But you have a job," you might protest. "That man has chosen to sit on that corner instead of working."
Sure, most Christians have jobs. But we are built for MISSIONS. How many of us say we are too busy with our jobs when God taps us on the shoulder with His calling for our lives?
We see some of the homeless trying to prey on the pity of others, with signs saying "Veteran" or "disabled" or "Will Work for Food."
We fly signs all the world can read that say we are:
Maybe we should be flying signs that say, "Why lie? I just want my car, my house, my country club membership."
Refreshingly honest? Perhaps.
And maybe a little too close to home.
Al Boyce is a former writer and reporter for The Associated Press. He lives in Raleigh, NC, where he now writes for God.
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