I’ve been tutoring Shawn for four years now and he’ll be graduating from Grade 12 in a couple of weeks. For the past two years, Shawn and I have met in Starbucks for our tutoring session. He drives north, I drive south and we meet halfway. Both of us really enjoy watching the clientele at this particular Starbucks and there are definitely “regulars” – in fact, Shawn and I have met at all different times, on all different days but we see many of the same people frequent this place. They even sit at the same table as they drink the same kind of coffee.
A couple of weeks ago, a man came into Starbucks and sat at the table across from Shawn and I. From our perspective, he was a new customer. He was rather fidgety and looked down most of the time. At one point, he looked up and said to us, “Hello. My name is Steven. I‘m depressed and very lonely. It’s important that I come to public places and try to socialize with people.” Shawn had no idea how to respond and he awkwardly looked to me for some kind of direction – he knew I wasn’t going to ignore the man.
“I’m so sorry. It must be very difficult for you. That’s wonderful that you were able to get out of the house and come here.”
The man began to tell his story and I realized I was now in a bit of a dilemma It’s been high stress time for Shawn these past couple of weeks because of all the end of year projects and looming final exams. I needed to honor his parents who pay me by making the best use of 1.5 hours of tutoring time and I knew Shawn needed a lot of help. Yet, here was an opportunity to befriend someone who needed some encouragement.
I listened intently to the man for a couple of minutes and when he was finished talking, I said, Thanks for sharing your story with us. It’s very nice to meet you. I hope you feel better soon and maybe we will run into each other again. “
The man smiled and I continued tutoring but I didn’t forget Steven.
Last Sunday, Shawn and I were in Starbucks again and while we were working on a complicated business project, Steven shuffled in, sat down beside us and started talking with us again. He told us about his volunteer work and how he likes to help needy people. Shawn and I listened to him for a few minutes and then he noticed that we were working. “I’ll let you do your work. Nice to see you again.” Steven stood up and walked out of the store but he left his baseball cap on the table.
I told Shawn that it was important to return the hat and reconnect with the man. I ran out the door and chased the man down.
“Steven, you left your hat on the table.”
Steven broke into tears. He said,”I was just going for a little walk but thank you for caring. You act like you love Jesus.”
I smiled. “I do love Jesus. Why don’t you meet with Shawn and I for a coffee this coming Sunday. Would you like that?
Now it was his turn to smile.
I reminded Shawn that you gotta’ walk your talk. Steven’s life reminded me that I gotta’ talk my walk too.
And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded. Matthew 10: 42 NLT