My husband, David, and I and an African-American pastor/security guard named Lake were in Detroit standing in front of a music club on a main strip late on a summer night. From out of the shadows on a dilapidated bike came a blond-haired twentysomething man who asked if we could help his mother pay the rent. I have never figured out the correct Christian policy on such occasions but was ready to give him a five spot on the reasoning that there was a slight chance it wasn’t a scam, and on the basis of Scriptures about helping the poor: “Give to the one who begs from you” (Matthew 5:42).
But David and Lake had a different idea. Lake launched into his testimony with great liberty, not being of the school that is forever waiting for the right moment and never finding it over 40 years. Reaching back to his car accident in 1971, he told of hearing the voice of God in the jail cell where he had been thrown in for a DUI, and of a new life of joy.
The young man was looking like this was more than he had bargained for, but he listened politely—hopeful. David, who knows street hustle, asked follow-up questions about the mother and then offered to go home with the man and meet her. A bit bemused by it all, our petitioner agreed to leave his bike at the club (we knew the owner) and get in the backseat of our car, so we drove off into the Detroit night.
At the house we found there was a mother, and she was strung out and looking for enough of a fix to get “off sick.” David, who has been there and done that, had instant rapport with the woman and talked to her about the way out: Jesus. In the end, he gave her the same amount of money I would have, but with the gospel. Later I asked why he had forked over anything, since she would probably spend it on dope. David replied about seeds being watered and said that a chance to share Jesus with a stranger was well worth five bucks.
As for me, I was edified to realize it is always the right time to broach the subject of sin and salvation, which never misses its mark, whether you are in Detroit or Denmark. And I was sobered to think that if it had been up to me, the young man would have ridden off with just a pocket full of chump change.