It’s a typical weekday in downtown Dallas and I’m spending my mid-day people watching at a local cafe as I normally do while enjoying a meal in silence. With a nonchalant expression on my face, those that walk in my vicinity are completely unaware of my thoughts. I’ve learned to take those in passing and put them into their suitable factions…allow me to explain. First you have the “Sight Seers”, this collection of individuals are easily identified by their constant pointing, picture taking, and looking up at the massive structures that make up the Dallas skyline. Observing this group is always amusing and the consistent “shock and aw” expression that many display never gets old. Next we have the “Professionals”. These are those that walk at a slightly faster pace due to the sands that fall to the bottom of the hour glass of their predetermined lunch break. The Professionals are often identified by their attire which almost always consist of the most uncomfortable choices of high heels or wingtips. In addition, other identifying factors such as the constant bending of necks to stare down at the latest social media post while simultaneously crossing the busiest of intersections is typical. The third and final society of people that I’ve come to identify are by far the most overlooked, neglected, and misunderstood…they are “The Angels”. The angels that I speak of are not the symbolic winged entities that descend from the heavens when summoned. No, in fact these angels are in masquerade. To all other factions they are known as the wonderers, less fortunate, or even homeless, but on the contrary they are the workers, observers, and living opportunities that roam amongst us.
Vendor #Z-2466, or Mr. Earnest as I call him, is by far my most intriguing encounter. Standing on a corner armed with a smile and a small stack of papers held at chest level, Earnest began to engage me with small talk. We discussed the extreme high temperatures of the recent days and found reason and purpose in all four seasons during our in depth discussion. After two to three minutes of conversation and a proper introduction, I finally inquired about the paper. He began telling me about the mission and purpose of Street Zine and in return I gave him respectable amount for his product. After walking away I noticed that I had felt better than I had moments before my interaction with this complete stranger. As I looked back at Earnest I noticed that with papers still at chest level he was engaging the next person with the exact same smile and energy. It was then that I realized that his mission was not to sell papers but was instead, in his own way, a time to reflect on the goodness and power of our Creator with all those that came within an ears reach. Despite his needs, it was as if he was standing on the corner for everyone else rather than himself.
“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
Hebrews 1:14 (NIV)
Over the next few weeks Earnest and I had several brief but impactful conversations. We discussed everything from his interactions with those that passed him by to the ways in which we would both achieve our goals. I always knew that a conversation with him would leave me feeling better about that particular day and about life in general. He would always have this smile on his face as I approached the intersection and we would always be laughing about something as I departed. The smile that I had grown accustomed to was not present on one particular day as I approached him with my son.
As we came within a few feet of him he still had the look of concern on his face that I had noticed from half a block away. Without the usual greeting he asked me if he could address my son with a few words. I agreed and could feel that his vibrations were coming from a different state than our previous encounters. With his demeanor never changing he took a knee, put one hand on my son's shoulder, and looked into his eyes as if to address a certain sector of his soul. He began by giving my son in depth account of his experiences throughout life. He thoroughly described time in prison, drug abuse, and poor decisions that were made on his part over the years. He concluded by assuring my son that if he listened to his father and believed in God that similar events would surely miss him. The look on my son's face was one that even as his father I had never seen. As we walked away I could tell by the tilt of his brow and his unconscious stare at the pavement in front of him that the wise words of this stranger would serve as hieroglyphs engraved on the walls of his mind. As I looked back to see if the smile that was missing from Earnest’s face that day had been restored to meet and greet the next commuter, I noticed him gathering his belongings and leaving his post as if to imply that his job for this particular day was done. I knew without a doubt that the words that were spoken would serve as a seed that would cultivate into a veil of protection for my son.
“For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully” Luke 4:10 (KJV)
The two Greatest Commandments as mentioned in Matthew 22:36-40 are truly the foundation of living a Godly life on this planet. (1) To love God with all thine heart and (2) to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. These two fundamental principles would eliminate all forms of separation on our planet if only we would observe and follow them. We tend to put ourselves in factions in order to section ourselves off from one another in an effort to gain validation from likeminded people, but we are actually all one. As we carry on with our days thinking that we are so different from one another we are merely looking at reflections of ourselves in other people. These other versions of ourselves may show the external consequences of decisions made, but in reality each and every person that we pass comes from the exact same source as we do. The true Spirit of God that many claim to seek is not some distant place, but amongst us and inside of us in the form of man. The heaven that you seek to enter is being created by our daily walks in life and will be based on our interactions with God while here on earth.
“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me” Matthew 25:34-36 (NKJV).
Having personally experienced what life is like without a place to call your own or a source of income I can only relate it to the experience that Jesus had during his 40 day hiatus in the wilderness. When a person has limited to no worldly possessions to be validated by and survives on the kindness of others they are offered a position to regain what was lost by temporarily serving as the stewards of God, giving us the opportunity to incorporate “Works” within our “Faith”.
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)