DEVOTIONS and POEMS

The Day I Met Daniel     submitted by Barbara Abbott

It was an unusually cold day for the month of May. Spring had arrived
and everything was alive with color. But a cold front from the north
had brought winter's chill back to Indiana. I sat with two friends in the
picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town square.

The food and the company were both especially good that day. As we
talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There,
walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly
goods on his back. He was carrying a well-worn sign that read,

"I will work for food."

My heart sank. I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed
that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved
in a mixture of sadness and disbelief. We continued with our meal, but
his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate
ways. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I
glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat half-heartedly for the
strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call
for some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made
some purchases at a store and got back in my car. Deep within me, the
Spirit of God kept speaking to me: "Don't go back to the office until
you've at least driven once more around the square." And so, with some
hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square's third corner,
I saw him.

He was standing on the steps of the stone-front church, going through
his sack. I stopped and looked, feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet
wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a
sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached
the town's newest visitor.

"Looking for the pastor?" I asked.

"Not really," he replied. "Just resting."
"Have you eaten today?"
"Oh, I ate something early this morning."
"Would you like to have lunch with me?"
"Do you have some work I could do for you?"
"No work," I replied. "I commute here to work from the city, but I would
like to take you to lunch."
"Sure," he replied with a smile. As he began to gather his things, I asked
some surface questions.

"Where you headed?"
"St. Louis."
"Where you from?"
"Oh, all over; mostly Florida."
"How long you been walking?"
"Fourteen years," came the reply.
I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the
same restaurant I had left only minutes earlier. His hair was long and
straight, and he had a neatly trimmed dark beard. His skin was deeply
tanned, and his face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years.
His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and
articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a
bright red T-shirt that said, "Jesus is The Never Ending Story."
Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seen rough times early in
life. He'd made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences.
Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had
stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who
were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought.
He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services,
and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to

"Nothing's been the same since," he said. "I felt the Lord telling me to
keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now."
"Ever think of stopping?" I asked.
"Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me. But God has
given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That's what's in my sack. I work
to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads."
I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and
lived this way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment and then I

"What's it like?"
"To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your

"Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments.
Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that
certainly didn't make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to
realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people's
concepts of other folks like me."
My concept was changing too. We finished our dessert and gathered his things.

Just outside the door he paused. He turned to me and said, "Come, ye blessed
of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I
was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye
visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me."

I felt as if we were on holy ground. "Could you use another Bible?" I asked.
He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not
too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. "I've read through it 14
times," he said. "I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our
church and see."

I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed
very grateful.

"Where you headed from here?" I asked.
"Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon."
"Are you hoping to hire on there for a while?"

"No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star
right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next." He smiled, and
the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission.

I drove him back to the town square where we'd met two hours earlier, and
as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.

"Would you sign my autograph book?" he asked. "I like to keep messages from
folks I meet.
I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched
my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of
scripture, Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,"
saith the LORD, "thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

"Thanks, man," he said. "I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but
I love you."
"I know," I said. "I love you, too."
"The Lord is good."
"Yes. He is."

"How long has it been since someone hugged you?" I asked.
"A long time," he replied. And so on the busy street corner in the
drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I
had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and
said, "See you in the New Jerusalem." "I'll be there!" was my reply.

He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his
bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, "When you see something
that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?"
"You bet," I shouted back. "God bless."
"God bless." And that was the last I saw of him. Late that evening as I
left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard
upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and
reached for the emergency brake, I saw them-a pair of well-worn brown work
gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought
of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without

I remembered his words: "If you see something that makes you think of me,
will you pray for me?" Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They
help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me
remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his

"See you in the New Jerusalem," he said. Yes Daniel, I know I will.

James 2:1-5 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly
a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man
in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and
say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there,
or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are
become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen
the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised
to them that love him?

author: Rev. Richard Ryan, Old Capitol United

Methodist Church, Corydon, IN

Rev. Ryan's email address:


"The Least of These..."      Submitted by Sheila

    It was a cold Sunday morning when members started arriving at
church, snow flakes had just fallen, people were rushing in to get
inside. To the warmth, to the dry sanctuary.
    As the members were walking in they were astonished to see a
homeless person laying on the sidewalk by the front door. He was bent
over all covered up with an old black trench coat, that had many holes in
it. His shoes had holes in it and you could see his socks filthy from
months of grime on them. The man had a black hat on that covered his
face. His hands filthy with dirt from probably digging in a garbage can
some thought.
    As the members made their way into the sanctuary, they were all
discussing how this horrible filthy man, had the nerve to sleep at THEIR
church doors! Finally the pianist started playing and the members all
sat down in their seats. They were all looking around, wondering where
the Pastor could be. You could hear people whispering, saying, "Pastor
Joe is probably telling that homeless man he needs to leave the
property." "What would visitors think if they seen him."
    All of a sudden, you could hear a gasp! The homeless man was
walking down the middle of the church aisle, he made his way to the
front, and then to the platform!!! When the homeless man got to the
microphone. He said "Good morning, how are you all?" The homeless man
was their Pastor Joe! Not a word was said, no one moved all around.
Even the pianist stopped playing.
    Then Pastor Joe said, "Did any of you see Jesus outside this
morning?" "He was cold, He was dirty, His clothes were filthy!" However
no one asked him into HIS house."

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my
brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matt 25:40 (KJV)

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