If you live anywhere near Oronogo you have probably seen an elderly man who walks miles and miles a day on busy roads all over the area. It doesn’t matter how hot or cold it is, he is out there walking day after day, mile after mile. And if you are like me you get frustrated with him at times. He doesn’t get off the road very well and he even gets upset with you if you don’t pass him in what he views as the proper way. It is actually quite dangerous. He doesn’t like you to slow down too much, just enough to get around him. The problem is that sometimes you have to slow way down, maybe even coming to a complete stop, due to oncoming traffic. If you do have to stop he will reluctantly step off the side of the road as he gives you a dirty look and maybe even throws up his hands in disgust. I started referring to him as “Crazy Walker Dude” because I didn’t know his name and he seemed kind of, well, crazy.

One day, after I passed “Crazy Walker Dude” and got frustrated, I had one of those moments where God basically slapped me on the side of the head and said, “Dan, I love ‘Crazy Walker Dude’, why don’t you get to know him too.” After feeling like a jerk for a few minutes I resolved to try to get to know this man and to try to start loving him more like Jesus does. I started praying for opportunities to run into him and that happened quickly. My wife, Holly, and I often go for walks in the area and it wasn’t long before we ran into him. We found out his name, we’ll call him Bill. He is hard of hearing and his memory is not good, but he loves to tell stories. In the next couple of months I ran into Bill multiple times and each time Bill would tell me stories. He struggled with the details, but he was passionate about his stories. At one point I asked Bill why he walked so much and he said it is basically because he is bored and lonely. His wife died several years ago and he doesn’t have many family members around and he can’t drive. I began to see Bill in a whole new way, not just as the crazy guy who dangerously walks on the roads of Oronogo, but as a person who needs love and attention just like I do.  

Recently, I stopped by Bill’s house and he was so excited for me to be there. He loved showing me pictures of his family members on the wall. He couldn’t remember all their names and he doesn’t even know where many of them live now, but he loves them dearly. I also found out his birthday was on Sept.12th and he would be turning 89 years old. So I thought it would be fun to have a little party for Bill.  I got a cake and put together a care package of gifts for him and several of the staff from Christ’s Church joined me. He wasn’t home when we first stopped by, but we left the gifts, a happy birthday sign and made a video singing happy birthday that I would show him later. When I went back a couple of hours later, Bill was home and was so thankful for the special surprise. In fact, he told me that he had never felt so honored which was very humbling.

The book of Matthew is talking about what will happen at the second coming of Jesus in the following passage:

“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.” Then these righteous ones will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?  When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

Matthew 25:35-40

Wow. That’s powerful! I am so thankful that God’s grace and love extend to everyone. Sometimes I need to be reminded of that. I wonder if there is someone in your life who tends to get overlooked by most people.  Maybe it is somebody who irritates you, but you have never really taken the time to get to know them. I would encourage you to pray for open eyes to see those around you as God sees them.

I no longer refer to Bill as “Crazy Walker Dude.” Now he is just “Bill” or “my friend Bill” and I am thankful for the lessons God is teaching me through him.  

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