What Time Is It?

watch pic jpg 1

I experienced the Social Security office today with my newly married daughter who went to get her name officially changed. In that lobby was gathered a selection of humanity that begged, albeit unknowingly, for empathy and prayers. Whenever I find myself outside of my usual circle, I sense the Lord whispering to me, “Pray for this person…and this one…and that one.” And I did pray for several of the people I saw there today–and maybe even prayed a collective, blanket prayer for all of them. God, help them.

A few individuals attracted my attention more than the others. One was a 20-something girl desperately attempting to look like a man, complete with muscle shirt, backwards cap, and “Britney Spears” tattooed on her arm. Jesus, help her.

Another was a guy with a “grill”. (If you are over 30 or you don’t watch tv, or both, like me, ask someone under 30 and who does watch tv to share with you the new definition of grill–yet another modern mutation of the English language.) Jesus, help him.

But the person who made more of an impression on me than any other was a woman who looked as if she had stepped off a movie set. Before your mind’s screen jumps to conclusions, let me say that this was no superstar actress. No, this lady looked like someone playing the part of a homeless person–the very poster child for homelessness:  tangled hair, trench coat, slightly maniacal expression, and worn, lace-up boots that looked like they actually came off the set of an old western.

While my daughter and I were waiting by the door for her number to be called, I sensed the Lord telling me something new. When the “homeless lady” walked by us on her way out and asked if I knew what time it was, I thought I heard the Lord say, “Give her your watch.” It seemed to be just a fleeting thought, but one that caused me to wonder and second guess and doubt.

Then I told myself that is probably not what the Lord said, that I probably imagined it. So I didn’t give the lady my watch. I just let the moment slide right on by.

I don’t know why I didn’t give her my watch. I could get another one just like it for about $30. Or I could go without a watch. Neither option could even be considered a genuine sacrifice.

So I tell myself now that the lady doesn’t know what she missed out on. She has no idea someone was thinking of giving her a watch. She may not have known that someone was thinking of her at all.

But what did I miss by not heeding the whisper? I will probably wonder every time I look at my watch. And wish that I would have given it away.

Janice Powell 2013


7 thoughts on “What Time Is It?

  1. It seems rather [patronising that you pray for people who aren’t like you. People outside your usual social circle I think you said. Just because they don’t look like you think they should, doesn’t mean they need your pity.

    1. Yes, you are correct in that I shouldn’t judge others by how they look. But I should clarify that the Holy Spirit within me prompts me to empathize with various people, including those within my “social circle.” And He also reminds me that I am in need of His grace as much or more as every other person. I am sorry that these ideas did not come through for you in my post. May Jesus reveal Himself to you more effectively than I have.

  2. Empathy will(should) work. prayer will not. We, as people, are the ones who do things or don’t, so all the praying in the world is useless unless people actually do something. God help them, Jesus help them! Please. Get real. We, you must help. You thought(your voice, not God’s) of giving your watch, but didn’t, you did nothing. You can still contribute food, clothing, money to a shelter, you don’t need a God to inspire empathy or action.

    1. Yes, we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. And I wasn’t yesterday. That is why I wrote this post. I guess without Jesus in my life, I might be capable of doing some good things, but more than likely I would be a wretch of a person totally focused on myself. I do need Jesus every minute. He is my life, now and forever. –Janice

    2. We are all driven out of relationship – my empathy is not natural within me but learned from relationship. Some base it on parents orr mentors which can continue long held stereotypes. Others, like this writer, base it on the relationship she has with a loving God who inspires/talks to her – seems like a pretty good way to live.

  3. I have missed a few God moments myself, they have taught me to be more sensitive to His voice, to respond to His prod…even when its awkward and weird….I love you and your heart of prayer, and i think that in following the unction to pray for others, our empathy is awakened and our heart is enlarged….and perhaps He multiplies the fruit as He did with the fishes and wine.

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