Coffee. Cash. A calling. Together it was a life-changing moment.
“I put the $300 right in front of him,” self-employed Tony Aguilar says about the wintry morning he gave his hard-earned cash away. “He’s looking down, and I said, ‘This is for you.’”
It wasn’t the first time this Pasco man has felt he has been asked to show generosity to a stranger. Tony says the one asking is God.
The journey into a different kind of ministry – one where Tony feels God speaks to him – began about three years ago after returning to his childhood faith, one he felt had disappointed him.
“At age 27 I fell away because I felt Christians were self-righteous,” Tony recalls his disillusionment. “I didn’t want anything to do with church.”
But in his early fifties, he rededicated himself to God and started back to Sunday worship. What he didn’t expect was a directive from heaven itself.
“It was in October of 2010 and I was asleep and God said, ‘I’m going to put you in a niche,’” Tony says about the awakening to his calling. “Now every morning as soon as I open my eyes, I say, ‘Lord, send me brokenness.’”
Traditionally, a weekday morning finds the married father of one in his favorite McDonald’s. He sips a cup of coffee while working on his computer before heading into the office or out on deliveries for his part-time job.
However, one morning he says he was distinctly asked to go elsewhere.
“I usually go to the Pasco McDonald’s on Court,” Tony reflects on the words that sent him across town. “God said, ‘I don’t want you there. I need you at the one on Road 68.’”
That was this past January when the temperatures had dipped to below freezing for days. Nevertheless, Tony drove on icy streets to reach the appointed location. Once inside, it was the usual coffee and computer time. But after a few minutes he noticed a man alone, his eyes cast downward.
“God spoke to me and said you need to give that man $300,” Tony recalls how he had to leave the restaurant to withdraw money from his bank down the street. “I put the cash right in front of him – he’s looking down – and I said, ‘This is for you.’”
What happened next took Tony by surprise as the grizzled patron grabbed the money and rushed out the door. No good-bye. No thank you.
Nevertheless, Tony believed he had done what God asked of him. How the money would be used or why he had been asked to give it away wasn’t important. For this man of faith, it is about obedience.
Some may doubt and scoff at his unique spiritual gift, Tony admits humbly. So he keeps a journal – another directive from God – about his countless “coincidences” that have brought encouragement at the right time or changed people in their relationship with Christ. Some have even agreed to be videotaped about their chance meeting.
But proof of how his life’s purpose affects others isn’t a requirement for Tony. Yet a few days after his thankless morning encounter, he got a surprising confirmation.
“I’m back at that same McDonald’s working on my computer and this guy comes up to me, pretty loud, and yells, “’You’re the guy!’” Tony remembers with clarity when the man he didn’t recognize repeated the words and pointed again.
The recipient of the $300 demanded to know why Tony had given him the money. All Tony could tell him was that God had told him to do it.
“There is a God – and you showed up,” the grateful homeless man told Tony, thanking him for the money that came at just the right time.
Because of Tony’s generous gift to the aging homeless man, he was able to get back on his feet. Through further contact, Tony helped him find the services and resources he needed. He also gave him a Bible. Now, this once defeated man is working and owns a home.
But the words that Tony first heard from the despairing fellow are forever branded on his heart.
“I was thinking about killing myself,” the jobless man living in his car had told Tony in anguish, “and I was asking God for help.”
When God calls Tony Aguilar to reach out in love, it could be a life-changing moment.
Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
LUCY NOTE: For further reading about hearing the voice of God, read this CNN Belief Blog.
If you have a story idea for Light Notes, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Lucy on Twitter @LucyLuginbill