As I mentioned on my twitter, last week I saw a guy in a shop wearing an overt John 3:16 bible verse t-shirt partially covered by his (Seattle Seahawks) jacket, carrying a boombox with stickers of Jesus, Mary and random saints all over it. Slightly sticking out of his jean pocket was a small bible.
I was nervous.
It was a small place, and with the blank stare on his face I worried I’d be the next person he’d try to “save” or proselytize. I left a few minutes later with no incident.
The next day I saw him at a different store a few miles away wearing the same clothes. Truth be told his appearance could suggest he’s homeless. He was walking toward me and my nervousness from the day before led me to go out around him.
Over the next few days I proceeded to see him four more times around town – always carrying the boombox.
My options are 1) This man is divinely appointed into my life or 2) We live in small town where you always run into something you know (I do daily).
In my mind I judged the guy through and through. I’ve worked in the human service field for six years now, and truth be told you can sometimes tell if someone is, well there’s no easy to way to say this, mentally off. His unkempt appearance, blank emotionless demeanor, that silly boombox – in my head they all add up to a possible person with a mental health illness. Our town has an abundance.
Therefore, in light of the possible mental health issues I decided against option 1 of him being a prophet who is going to speak some real truth to me that I apparently need to hear. My subsequent sightings around town were now met with writing him off, nothing to worry about.
And in my defense we’ve all likely ran into some who is religiously fanatic and claims to be sent from God, who in all likelihood is mentally ill. A report came out this week of a woman who stabbed her own baby grandson because she thought he was the anti-Christ. She is now in a mental hospital.
But I’ve done something incredibly dangerous in writing him off, for God has a habit of breaking expectations. I wrote him off because someone looking like he does can’t possible be a prophet (yeah right, prophets wear nice suits and ask for money – that’s how its done!). Nevermind that Jesus was born poor and was mostly homeless, and many of the prophets lived on next to nothing.
In essence I reserved the people of God to only be the people I think look the part – educated, financially sound folk who have it all together.
Now is that man likely a prophet? No, probably not. But now I’ll be more cautious in writing some off simply because they don’t look the part, because they don’t seem good enough. God has this thing about using all people.