Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sharing a meal with a man who used to make $80,000, now living out of his van

Yesterday a man named Bradley came in needing some financial help. We gave him food and talked and prayed with him. He almost has a masters degree and used to work in the finance industry. He is out of work, and currently living in his van.

Bradley had applied at various places, but his cell phone was almost out of minutes. Unless he could be contacted, he could not get phone calls from prospective employers. Clearly he was trying hard to get work. So I took him up to the AT&T store and put some more minutes on his phone. Jason's Deli was right next door, so I asked him if he would like to eat together. He said that he would.

In our conversation, he explained how he came to his current state. At one time he had been making $80,000 a year doing various types of loans. With credit dried up, he longer had any clientel. He was about 50 probably. When I asked him if he had any children, he started to tear up and say, "No, I have never been married." His mother had passed on, and he was estranged from his brother. He said that he had to "prove himself" to his brother in order to come back into his life.

He was raised Roman Catholic, but said that he realized that after catachism in 3rd grade that Catholics did not study the Bible. He said that "Christians--whatever that means--" seem to do more Bible study. I asked him if he would like to study with me, and he said that he would. I told him that I would start studying with him after I got back from my upcoming trips. He said that he would also come and worship with us on Sunday. He needed to be around people. And he was touched by our dear Linda, who had offered to have him come and have Thanksgiving dinner with her and her family.

On the way out, I told the manager at Jason's Deli who I was, that we were trying to help Bradley and thought he was a good guy, and that I would appreciate it if they gave him a good look. (Bradley had applied there, and clearly had spoken to the manager). I prayed for Bradley, and then we parted.

Last night, Bradley called me and said, "Because of you, I was able to have a good conversation with my brother tonight." I'm not sure how I helped in this, but I was glad to see some reconciliation begin.

I could not help but feel how blessed I was as I heard Bradley's story. I think he is legitimate, and I am glad to be a part of a church that God is using to help those who need it. This is the Lord's work.

What do you think of this story about Bradley? How should we respond to these types of circumstances?


Anonymous said...

This is a great story...but even greater that it is not 'just' a story. God knew Bradley's heart and God's grace led him to someone who would listen--and help. I think your response was exactly the right one for this type of circumstance. Let us all pray that Bradley's situation improves and, more importantly, that your study with him brings him to a clear understanding of God's love and will for him.

James said...

Thank you, my friend, for your thoughts. I will post a follow-up post to this soon and give an update on Bradley.