Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Crimson Starbucks Cup - A Beacon of Light on A Gray, Rainy Day

Driving to Nora, part of the north side of Indianapolis to purchase gift cards for my children at Whole Foods, I noticed a homeless man holding a sign. He was sitting on a stack of plastic crates in the grassy median at the entrance to Nora Plaza.

Stopping at the light, I rolled down my window and asked if I could get him something to eat.

He replied, "No, but I would like a cup of coffee - black."

"Ok, I'll be back."

Circling through the light I drove to the Starbucks a short distance away. Since I do not drink coffee, ordering a large cup was a new experience. Entering the store, I quickly placed my order and decided to purchase a gift card in case the man got hungry or thirsty later in the day.

Carrying the large, hot coffee in one of those controversial bright red cups, I felt like I was in a church processional, walking down the aisle, carrying a candle of light and love. I walked through the parking lot, and dodged a few cars to reach the man and make my delivery.

On that rainy, mid-November day, the wind was blowing with force creating a wind advisory that I heard on the radio. These blustery conditions made walking a challenge. Seeing the man sitting in this weather mess for a period of time evoked compassion.

He must have been a tall man because when I reached his perch we met each other at eye level. I handed him the cup, and took note of the layers of clothing, his bloodshot eyes heavy with fatigue. His large, rough looking hands took a break from holding the sign that described his status in life.

He reached gratefully for the coffee, my candle of light on a gray day.

I showed him the gift card. "You can use this to get something to eat or more coffee."

"Thank you. Have a nice day. Make it a good one!"

Not expecting any response I was surprised to receive a blessing for my day. Moving toward my car, I noticed a pile of plastic grocery store bags and a backpack on the opposite side of the street from where the man sat. These must be his earthly possession gathered in one spot.

I reached my car and turned on the heat.

I don't know the circumstances of this man's life, but I do know that Jesus told us to care for one another - not just our family or friends who live in homes, but for the least and those on the fringe regardless of what brought them there.

When I arrived home, I went to my desk to read the Upper Room devotional for November 18. The thought for the day was: "Today I will offer hospitality to strangers in my path." The scripture listed was Hebrews 13:1-3: "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."

Wow, I was right on target in my mission without knowing "my commission for the day." I pray my beacon of love and light contained in a bright crimson coffee cup will be a sign of hope and love for this child of God, perched on a stack of plastic crates at a busy intersection. - and that he can "make this day a good one" despite his circumstances.

Prayer: God, you bring us people each day who need a kind word or smile or a more tangible expression of love. Give us boldness to keep our eyes open so we may show hospitality to all in your name. Amen.


  1. You've always been an example of that devotional and scripture. How cool that your heart was already open and listened to this man in need of help. <3

  2. Beautiful heart of obedience and likeness to Jesus! So good to see you today!