Perhaps you have seen the story of "Daniel's Gloves". It has been floating around the internet since 2001 according to snopes.com. They also tell us the original author is Richard Ryan the assistant Pastor of a Church in Indiana. I refer to this story—which you will find posted below mine—because of the effect that helping one in need can actually have on a believer’s life.
One of the things I have done in the past is monitor just how many people there are who simply pass on by those who are holding a sign stating “Will work for food” or “Need Help for me and my children.” If you ask the hurting they will tell you there are literally hundreds and hundreds who just will not help. Truly it is a sad testimony that “one or a few bad apple(s) can spoil a whole bushel.” It is definitely something I also have observed. For some reason we either fear them, fear confrontation or fear being deceived. Whatever the reason, I often wonder how God feels about it.
Just a few months back I was driving in the city, when like the story, I too noticed a homeless man holding a sign that stated, "Will work for food." My wife and I have a soft spot in our heart for these people and we do our best to try and help when possible. (No Joke) But because there is so much deception out there, if it is possible, I ask God for discernment while I prepare to stop. But most times He just nudges my heart and says; "Pull over" so I do. This particular afternoon was one of those days.
Hello I am a Marine Veteran; Will Work for Food
I was driving toward home when I noticed the man sitting on his own self-carried crate with a cardboard sign. Normally, if they have their own chair (crate) you may immediately think that they are professional swindlers… and maybe some are. But when God nudges your heart you do not have any other choice than to say “Yes, Lord.” I passed him by and turned into a McDonalds to get a couple of burgers and a drink for him. I knew he was probably hungry and thirsty. I then maneuvered to a nearby Walgreens parking lot where I prayed. I got a copy of my book and headed toward the curb. When I arrived he stood up and looked at me with his bloodshot-weary worn eyes. I said hello and then I asked, “Where are you from.” The following recounts the rest of the story.
He hesitated and said “Alabama. I am just traveling and trying to get out west”
I said, “I saw you sitting here and the Lord asked me to pull over. Here is something to eat and something to read.”
He thanked me generously and with a smile. I said, “Do you have a home church somewhere?”
He said, “Well, I have been attending in Decatur for a few weeks.”
I asked, “Do you have a personal relationship with Christ?”
He said. “Oh yes, I have for some time.” He then just clammed up as if to be pondering something in the back of his mind. A long pause ensued and I finally felt he was somewhat uncomfortable, so I asked him if I could pray.
His face lit up and he said, “Yes, please.”
So we sought the Lord about his situation, his travel, and his need to pray and confess to God anything that was on his mind. I then took the liberty to speak to him about how the Lord is just waiting to bring blessing into our lives if we will just trust Him and say “Yes Lord, I will do it” or “Yes Lord, I will go.” I then quoted 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NKJV), “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him..." He thanked me, and we parted in peace. I then prayed again, this time under my breath, that he would take the Lord’s word to heart.
I then turned to walk to my car up an incline and into the parking lot. At that moment a Mercedes Benz pulled up with a man driving who was very well-dressed; I could tell he lived an affluent lifestyle. He rolled down his window and said, “Excuse me. What does he want? Where is he going?”
I said, “I am not sure, somewhere out west I believe. I was more concerned with his physical and spiritual welfare than his destination. So I didn’t inquire any further”
He said, “Well, whatever he needs I will buy him a ticket.”
I then turned to look at the man and I noticed a four corner road block. Cars were pulled over, windows down, doors open and people were overflowing with help. Never before had I seen anything like it... a genuine roadblock for Jesus! I am not sure what was on the man’s mind when we conversed but one thing I am sure of is God did. The man got his help and I have never seen him since.
The help God wanted to give this man was not really coming through me. I didn’t have what he needed. But I did have a willing heart. That day has made me rethink what service to God really means. I have a fresh outlook on what I am prone to feel about others and their seemingly apathetic responses toward those who hold up cardboard signs. People do want to help; they just need someone to lead the way. Won't you be one of those who will help lead the way? Seek the Lord, He promises that when we are faithful to obey and to trust He will take care of the rest!
The story below also tells us of how another Pastor was used to lend an ear and pray with a traveler on mission for God.
Daniel’s Gloves (I left in original format)
I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town square. The food and the company were both especially good that day.
As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, a well-worn sign that read, ‘I will work for food.’ My heart sank.
I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief.
We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat half heartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call for some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car.
Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: ‘Don’t go back to the office until you’ve at least driven once more around the square.’
Then with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square’s third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the store front church, going through his sack.
I stopped and looked; feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town’s newest visitor.
‘Looking for the pastor?’ I asked.
‘Not really,’ he replied, ‘just resting.’
‘Have you eaten today?’
‘Oh, I ate something early this morning.’
‘Would you like to have lunch with me?’
‘Do you have some work I could do for you?’
‘No work,’ I replied ‘I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch…’
‘Sure,’ he replied with a smile.
As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions. ‘Where you headed?’
‘ St. Louis ‘
‘Where are you from?’
‘Oh, all over; mostly Florida …’
‘How long you been walking?’
‘Fourteen years,’ came the reply.
I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, ‘Jesus is The Never Ending Story.’
Then Daniel’s story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in life. He’d made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought.
He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God.
‘Nothing’s been the same since,’ he said, ‘I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now.’
‘Ever think of stopping?’ I asked.
‘Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me. But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That’s what’s in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads.’
I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: ‘What’s it like?’
‘To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?’
‘Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn’t make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people’s concepts of other folks like me.’
My concept was changing, too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned to me and said, ‘Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I’ve prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in.’
I felt as if we were on holy ground. ‘Could you use another Bible?’ I asked.
He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. ‘I’ve read through it 14 times,’ he said.
‘I’m not sure we’ve got one of those, but let’s stop by our church and see’. I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.
‘Where are you headed from here?’ I asked.
‘Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon.’
‘Are you hoping to hire on there for a while?’
‘No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that’s where I’m going next.’
He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town-square where we’d met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.
‘Would you sign my autograph book?’ he asked… ‘I like to keep messages from folks I meet.’
I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture from Jeremiah, ‘I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you a future and a hope.’
‘Thanks, man,’ he said. ‘I know we just met and we’re really just strangers, but I love you.’
‘I know,’ I said, ‘I love you, too.’
‘The Lord is good!’
‘Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?’ I asked.
‘A long time,’ he replied.
And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, ‘See you in the New Jerusalem.’
‘I’ll be there!’ was my reply.
He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, ‘When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?’
‘You bet,’ I shouted back, ‘God bless.’
‘God bless.’ And that was the last I saw of him.
Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them… a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them.
Then I remembered his words: ‘If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?’
Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry. ‘See you in the New Jerusalem,’ he said. Yes, Daniel, I know I will…
‘I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.’
May God bless you this day