The guidebook for tourists advised travelers to ignore beggars. Sometimes, it warned, they were actually pick-pockets who distracted and robbed do-gooders.
While traveling in Spain, I maintained my habit of reading the Bible daily. The first morning in Barcelona, I read the account of Peter and the beggar. Great story, but I failed to see how it applied to me. So I closed my Bible, went out sight-seeing, and passed by at least two beggar women without even remembering what I’d read.
The next day, I reread the passage and felt the Holy Spirit pinch. I confessed my self-centeredness and devised a simple plan for the next opportunity.
On a street busy with foot traffic, I saw a clean-cut middle-aged man sitting in a doorway with a sign that read, I have problems. Help me. He looked defeated. I stooped to his level and, using my barely-adequate Spanish, asked him what the problems were. He said he was sick and unemployed. I asked his name. After I dropped a few euros in his can, I told Antonio I would pray for him in Jesus’ name.
I walked away convinced God had caused our paths to cross. God’s Book had shown me that when Peter met a beggar he gave what he could.
Not ten minutes later, another man, rumpled and needing a shave, approached me. He also said he needed help and introduced himself as Antonio. Really, Lord? He looked as if drinking might be his biggest problem, and I didn’t want to be generous. I briefly pretended I didn’t speak Spanish, but the Holy Spirit prodded again. I promised to pray for him in Jesus’ name and shared more euros.
My encounters with the Antonios reminded me that daily Bible reading isn’t just an item on a to-do list. When God opened my mind and heart to His Word, I found I could give what I had—a little Spanish, a few euros, and a faithful prayer in Jesus’ name.
Ask God to show you how He wants you to obey Him today. Maybe He’ll send you an Antonio.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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