It was a beautiful fall day at the town square for Hopefest. I looked forward to Hopefest because of the opportunities for ministry and new connections.
Soon after our group, Celtic Cross Ministry, finished setting up, a homeless man with a pack came over and inquired about free haircuts. Not knowing where that booth was set up, I walked with him to the registration table to find out. He was black, his short hair dotted with gray and a few days beard starting to grow upon his chin, the latter portion which needed trimming. His eyes were bright and he had a smile.
“Why are you homeless?” I asked.
“Problems came about because of my skin color,” was his response.
“It shouldn’t be that way. Skin color shouldn’t matter.”
“It still does matter,” he said.
Arriving at our destination, we got the information he needed and he was grateful. We parted ways and I was reminded that in God’s kingdom there will be people from all nations and tribes (Rev. 7:9) and that there isn’t any partiality with God (Acts 10:34-36).
Later in the day my friend Mary-Ann and I went around the square. As we were headed back to our booth we met a homeless couple, Susan* & Jack*, along with a friend of theirs, Mitch*. Jack mentioned, more than once, about getting married to Mary at this same event the year before. Other topics of hard times came up too. Susan and Jack put the bad times behind them and stayed more focused on the positive side of life. Before leaving I asked if they would like any prayer and Mary mentioned that she would like to pray. Soon after the prayer, Laurie*, a friend of theirs, walked up. Mitch said that she was a Christian too.
“No I’m not,” Laurie said.
“Why?” I asked.
“God doesn’t read a book,” she said. “I’m spiritual.”
“God doesn’t need to read a book…”
“I’m not going there,” she interrupted.
An image of a tall, very thick, very hard brick wall slamming down came to mind. So much so, that I could tangibly feel it. I used to be like that too, not wanting to hear about God at all. God is not always well received. Not wanting to disturb the fellowship the homeless people were having, my friend and I left. Although I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t talk more about Jesus, praying for Laurie was something my friend and I could do. Another point was brought to mind. Sometimes when trying to present the Gospel of Christ to unwilling ears and hearts, it’s better to move on. (Matthew 7:6; 2 Peter 2:22)
*Not actual names