Friday, June 17, 2005

Judah, meet Jesus

[The following true story occurred yesterday.]

"Why didn't we help him?" As Judah's confused yet compassionate eyes gazed at mine, his words cut deep. We had just passed a panhandler in Chinatown on the way to introduce mom to Joe's Shanghai's soupy dumplings. I had taken Judah the night before, just the two of us, on a father-son date. He enjoyed the dumplings so much, and the practice chopsticks the waiter taught him how to use, that he wanted to bring mom last night.

"What do you mean, 'why didn't we help?'" I thought. "We're on family time." The rationalization didn't cut it for me, however, so I figured it would mean even less to him. I promised that if the man was still there after we ate then we could give him some money.

On the way back to the car, we passed the man a second time. No longer panhandling, he sat on a stoop with his head between his legs. I gave Judah a handful of coins and took him to the man. "Excuse me, my son has something he wants to give you," I said.

Slowly the man raised his head and watched Judah approach, hand outstretched. The man grabbed his hand and with tears welling up in his eyes, said, "God loves you, boy." Later Judah offered him ice cream from Haagen Daaz and the tears streamed down his face.

The ice broken, the man introduced himself as "Lonnie." He said he's been strung out for 30 years and homeless for 25. At one time he was a Christian, but he turned his back on God and became hooked on crack cocaine and alcohol. He said he's been off drugs for 12 years, but the booze he can't shake. He wept as he told me that Judah was the sixth person who stopped to tell him that God loves him that day.

He kept saying he was scared, afraid that he would go to sleep and not wake up. Judah looked at him lovingly, straight in the eyes and said: "Everyone is scared of something." With that, more tears.

Lonnie was chilly, so we gave him Judah's beachtowel from the car, and a brand new Bible I had bought for myself last weekend. But first he asked if Judah would pray for him. He did, along with mom and dad.

There we stood, on the corner of Bayard and Mott Streets, around the corner from Haagen Daaz, minutes removed from soupy dumplings, spending quality time with a homeless man.

Family time, indeed. The best kind.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" (Matthew 25:34-40)


At 6/17/2005 05:34:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Wow! Powerful story about Family time with Jesus. For one just starting a family, that raises the bar for family time -- raises it to its right place.

At 6/17/2005 07:23:00 PM, Blogger latinaliz said...

Dude, you had me in tears. Powerful illustration of Jesus with skin on...thanks for sharing, a good reminder for us all of what we should do when we have the opportunity. Blessings to all of you and un besito to Judah!

At 6/23/2005 02:31:00 AM, Blogger Abner Ramos said...

Wow! That's intense. You're doing a good job raising him Jeremy.

At 6/29/2005 06:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeremy i live right upstairs from Joes you didnt call me?
But wow thats great about Judah


At 6/29/2005 10:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story about Jeremy's heart that causes him to act the way he does is no surprise to me. These are the sort of seeds your mom sowed in her life, your life, your brothers' lives, and many others - including mine. She's been a wonderful teacher and friend. I was just talking about her yesterday while ministering to a friend of mine. Keep up the good work till you hear Him say, "well done, good and faithful servant".


At 6/29/2005 10:56:00 PM, Blogger Rosie said...

Jeremy, in my previous message I meant to say Judah's heart and keyed Jemermy... sorry

At 6/29/2005 11:57:00 PM, Anonymous David Ramos said...


Outstanding, at least you guys did something. Y'all were Jesus for that man.



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