An Angel Unawares

At age 24 I was sent from Pennsylvania to Tampa, Florida be a missionary pastor, and by 1980, I had lived for thirty years in the city, and was making plans to move to Sarasota, a Mennonite Mecca. I had a house to sell in Tampa, and the financial institution of a prospective buyer had stipulated certain repairs that should be done if the buyer was to qualify for a loan. This troubled me because I was manually unskilled and a busy pastor. God’s answer to my need tested my faith in man and God, and utterly surprised me.
On a Wednesday, I happened to be in a nearby Publix parking lot when an unfamiliar person asked me to loan him 5 dollars to buy food, and added, did I happen to have some work he might do. I had lived in the city long enough to know that loaned money would not likely be returned, and that a stranger was not to be trusted. Yet, I gave him the 5 dollars, and supplied him with my address where he could come to work . He promised to be on hand the next morning. . With city-bred skepticism I watched him walk into the store with my money.
Out of the blue, my mysterious friend showed up the next morning for work. We examined what needed to be done and negotiated an hourly wage. True to form, he asked for an advance on his wages so he could go to the store to buy breakfast. Again, I watched my money being carried away by a man about whom I knew nothing and with no work done, yet
He did return before noon, and finished out the day working, but was unfinished and days end. We discussed work for the next day, but he informed me that he honored the Holy Spirit by not working on Friday. I learned that he did no work on Saturday to honor God, the Father, no work on Sunday to honor God, the Son, and did no work on Monday to honor the Virgin Mary. But, yes, he would work on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
He reappeared on Tuesday morning for work and left that evening after receiving his wages. He worked on Wednesday and Thursday as promised. My last work for him was to help me move by truck several hives of bees to a new owner in the country. I explained that I would close the entrances to the hives after all bees had returned in the evening, but I could not guarantee no stings. After the hives were successfully delivered to their new owner, my friend asked to be dropped off at his sleeping place.
We stopped at a Dairy Queen on 22nd. Street that had been robbed and abandoned. I watched as he crawled through the broken glass door, ostensibly for the night. That was the last I saw of the stranger who earned his wages, kept his promises, and faithfully honored the Triune God and the Virgin Mary.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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