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Daniels Gloves
February 11th, 2011
Daniel's Gloves
                                    -Author  Unknown
 
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 halfheartedly  for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call 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.'
  
Then 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 store 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 earlier.  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 God.
  
'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 asked 'What's it  like?'
 
'What?'
  
'To walk into a town carrying all your  things on your back and to show your sign?'
  
'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 and  inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry  you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger  and you took me in.'
  
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 are 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  awhile?'
  
'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 from   Jeremiah , 'I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you a  future and a hope.'
  
'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 them.
  
Then 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 ministry. "See you in the New Jerusalem ," he  said. Yes, Daniel , I know I will...
  
"I shall pass this way but once..  Therefore, any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show,  let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again."