My Advent Encounter Today with Jesus in the Generosity of a Man Named Thomas (and his invisible wife)

I am always amazed and humbled by the generosity of the poor. Today when I arrived at our Regional Mission House there was a disheveled man in the parking lot who wanted my attention. I was in a hurry to get to my office for a conference call. I avoided my initial temptation to ignore him and somewhat exasperatedly started listening to him. He was not very coherent, but I soon learned that he was there with his wife, who was invisible to everyone but him. He would stop every now and then to include her in our conversation. He could not understand why others could not see her, which was a shame because she quite beautiful.

I was growing impatient waiting for him to ask for whatever he was going to ask me for. I was expecting it would be money.  I wanted to quickly give him a few bucks so that I could get on with my day.  But he never asked me for anything. Finally I said to him, “What do you want, what do you need?” He said nothing, he was just waiting for the bus to come and take him to the library. I was embarrassed that all he wanted was my company. So, I invited him to come into the house so we could continue chatting out of the cold and have a cup of coffee. As we sat there and talked, he pulled out some sandwiches from his tattered shopping bag and offered me one while he hungrily ate his with the coffee.

When he was done, he gave me two more sandwiches, in case I would be hungry later or in case I ran across someone who hungry. I began thinking how much more difficult is was for me to be the receipt of his generosity than it would have been for me to have just given him money. It was a humbling experience of realizing that it was he who was ministering to me. It was he who shook me out of my busyness and distraction to realize what really mattered.   Today Thomas was the missionary who showed me the Good News of God's love.

Advent is a season of waiting and hoping for Jesus to come. Today he came and his name was Thomas. Thank you Thomas.