Hi there, I wanted to share with you guys about a life-changing meeting I had with a man named Kyle. Both of our lives were different after our meeting.
Who is Kyle, you may ask? Well, from what I gathered during our meeting, he was a man in his 20's, quite possibly homeless, struggling with severe drug addiction.
Our meeting went like this...
I was in line at a clothing store doing some returns when I first saw Kyle walk in. I first noticed how friendly Kyle was to people who walked by, acknowledging them and smiling at them. Unfortunately, he did not get the same kindness back to those he smiled at.
After I did my returns, I decided to look around the store a bit. As I was browsing, I would occasionally cross paths with Kyle and got a closer look at him each time I passed him. He looked very different from most others in the store due to his dirty clothes, un-showered body and hair, and missing teeth. As you can probably guess, most people felt uncomfortable and avoided being next to him.
After I was done browsing, I walked up to the check stand to get in line to pay for my two clothing items. As I got in line, I realized I was standing right behind Kyle, who was now holding a pile of clothes to buy.
I watched as Kyle decided to grab a drink near the checkout register, which required him to walk past the people in front of him in line. In his soft voice, he politely and calmly said, "excuse me," as he walked past a girl who seemed to be in her 20's. As he walked past her, she had a look of extreme annoyance and inconvenience on her face that she had to step back so Kyle could get his drink.
She looked at me to see if I would validate her annoyance, I declined with a swift avoidance of eye contact with her. As Kyle walked back into line, I felt overwhelming compassion and an effortless prompt in my heart to start a conversation with him.
How do you start a conversation with a stranger? Well, I started with, "how's it going, man?" He looked at me somewhat surprised and said, "good, good, you?" I responded with, "I'm doing good." There was a brief silence with a feeling in the air of "who's going to make the next move."
I came back with, "what are you up to today?" He responded, telling me that he would be running around from place to place and again asked me the same question, and I responded with my plans for the day. Again there was a silence that lasted a bit longer than the first.
I then asked, "what kind of music do you listen to?" He proceeded to tell me he liked to rap, and we talked shortly about our common interest in rap music. I then began to ask him more personal questions like his name, how old he was, and where he grew up. He told me his name was Kyle, he was 28 years old, and he grew up in the local area.
I then confidently asked him if I could buy his pile of clothes for him. The mood shifted as he slowly looked at me with wide eyes and asked, "would you really do that for me?"
At that moment, my heart swelled with love and compassion, and I just about lost it emotionally when I responded, "Yes!" He then looked very scattered, as if he needed to do something, and he told me that he would put his drink away to lessen the financial cost.
I told him, "hold on to your drink man, Are there any other snacks you want?" Kyle looked at me wide-eyed again in what seemed to be disbelief as he walked over and grabbed one more snack on the shelf along the checkout line. We then stood together silently as we waited next in line to be called up.
When we were called, I told the checker to ring all the clothes up as one bill; we were together. Kyle laid his pile of clothes on the counter, and the woman started ringing them up. Myself, the checker girl, and Kyle all began to then talk about guys' clothes vs. girls' clothes, and I could tell that Kyle probably didn't get to feel like he belonged very often as he quietly spoke within the conversation.
Once all our merchandise was paid for, Kyle and I walked outside in the front of the store, and we separated our clothes. I then looked at Kyle in his piercing blue eyes and said, "Hey man, what happened in the store and what is happening right now is that Jesus Christ is pursuing you because he loves you SO much, He is pushing his love through me, to you."
I continued, "would you like to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior right here, right now?" There was a brief silence, and then still wide-eyed, Kyle responded, "I don't want to let you down, and I am still going through rehab, so I don't think I can accept Jesus as my Lord at this moment."
I responded by thanking him for his honesty and assured him that Jesus was still pursuing him hard regardless. I asked if he had a phone to keep in touch; unfortunately, he responded that he did not have a phone. I then gave him my church's website if he ever wanted to reach out.
We then hugged, and I again assured him that both myself and Jesus Christ love him so much and how much of an honor and privilege it was for me to meet him. He then walked away with a shocked look on his face, which looked like he was trying to understand what he just experienced.
What we BOTH just experienced together was Jesus Christ's love, compassion, acceptance, and relentless pursuit of those he loves.
What did I learn from all this? The first thing I learned was that everything in this world is made by God, for God, and should be used to glorify God.
The pile of clothes that Kyle had in his hands were not cheap; in other words, they were expensive. Being a worship leader and a musician in a one-income family, we make less money than the average American household.
But none of that matters; our money is not our own; it is God's and should be used for His glory and the spread of the gospel at every opportunity possible.
I also was reminded that we too often fall into the lie of social status and look down upon those, who, if we are unchecked, are so easy to look down upon, the homeless, drug addicts, prostitutes, and those who make less money than the average American."
After meeting Kyle, I realized that I would rather hang out with him due to his kind heart than many others I would meet in my daily life; I felt genuine love and friendship with him in the short time we were together.
Finally, I learned that I allowed myself to become a full empty vessel to be lead for Jesus Christ's will in that moment of meeting Kyle. I didn't worry about what I would say to start the conversation or make the connection. I didn't allow the silences between the questions to stop me from pressing forward to deepen the connection with Kyle.
I didn't let the thought that buying his clothes and snacks for him was "just too expensive" and would blow our monthly budget. No, I allowed myself to become a vessel for the Holy Spirit, and through that, all of the above was effortless and required no second-guessing or anxiety.
If Jesus Christ wants to pursue a drug-addicted homeless man named Kyle, then I stand honored that He would use me as His vessel to make that connection.
I walked away from this meeting with Kyle feeling more alive than most anything I have ever experienced in my life. God blessed me simultaneously as he was blessing Kyle. Both Kyle and I walked away, having encountered the love of Jesus Christ together.
I hope that one day God brings Kyle and myself back together. We can continue our conversation of Jesus Christ, and just maybe, one day, I will get to lead Kyle to salvation through Jesus Christ and watch Jesus make him a new creation and free him from his drug-addicted bondage the way that he freed me from sex, porn, and alcohol addiction.
Until then, I will remember this day where God blessed me with a man named Kyle. How we were together in the love of Christ and how God showed me what a soft heart full of love and compassion feels like so I can continue to show Christ's love to others. All glory be to Christ.
Josh North: United States