School of Hard Knocks

Sometimes the best lecture our children receive is the one we don’t give them. Case in point, today my son Jacob and I hit the streets of San Diego with God’s love in our hearts, gospel tracts and Subway gift cards.

At first Jacob didn’t want to go as he saw a wonderful opportunity to play X-box while his brother napped and his sister was on a play-date. Nevertheless I dragged him out the front door but once we were in the car he was ready to go.

As we drove toward Hillcrest the weather began to clear though it remained a chili 50 degrees; chili for San Diego standards anyway. We exited University Avenue from the 163 freeway, turned left and then saw a young man seated against a store-front wall.

He was wearing a hoodie with his head down between his legs looking particularly pitiful. So we pulled over and approached the man. His name is Justin, he’s 29 and has been homeless two years. We shared the gospel and prayed with him. Before we left we gave him a Subway gift card and bible tract.

Friendship Hotel: The Lecture of a Lifetime

We continued walking when we saw a man with a shopping cart. His name is Daniel. Daniel recycles cans and other items to pay for food and lodging at the Friendship Hotel. Daniel informed us of a recent law that went into affect in California that no longer allows glass and plastic items that do not have California Redemption Value (CRV) to be recycled for money. He told us this new law has cut his income 40% which his making it harder for him to pay rent.

After our conversation he looked at my son, asked him his name and began to lecture him. It was great!

Daniel looked Jacob in the eye and said,

Jacob, the best thing you can do for yourself is to respect and listen to your parents, study hard and get an education so that when you grow up you can earn a stable income for your family.

He continued,

I’ve made a lot of bad choices in my life; I thought I knew everything when I was young and abused drugs and alcohol. Don’t be like me.

Wow! Daniel did something for my son that I couldn’t; he gave my son a startling perspective on how making bad choices can negatively impact a person’s life from one who is visibly experiencing the consequences of his own poor choices.

Precious Moments

God used us to do many more things that I will not share but just know that God was so good to us. We intended to give back a portion of what God has given to us but it was like flipping a penny into the vast ocean. It was then that I realized that we can never give God as much as He gives us.

It was our intention to give to others but God used Daniel to give my son and I something we’ll remember for the rest of our lives; He gave us a moment between father and son.

He gave my son wisdom to avoid the pitfalls of life. He gave me the blessing of seeing my son take one step closer to becoming like my hero, Jesus of Nazareth; creator of the heavens and the earth, born of a virgin, Savior of the world.

Prayer Requests

  1. Cynthia: She has Cerbreal Palsey and needs our prayers to keep hope.
  2. Daniel: He works everyday to earn a living but it’s been harder on him since the new law. Let’s pray God will open up another revenue stream for him to earn his living.
  3. Justin: He has a court appointment Monday to determine whether he will receive disability benefits for his shattered knee. These benefits will allow him to get off the streets and into a home with food and other basic necessities.