The man who shared his chicken

A homeless man revealed God to Jenna:

Encounter with God Story

I encountered God in a place where people are often advised not to go, while being surrounded by people that I’m told I shouldn’t get close to. In one of the most overlooked places, with some of the most underestimated people, I saw God clearly.

For one whole week in August, I spent one week in the Tenderloin District in the city of San Francisco with about fifty other college students. We spent a week without phones, watches, showers, or money and spent each day serving one of the most poverty stricken districts in California. The place we stayed was a small building in the middle of the district, with people sitting on the bird feces and urine covered sidewalks right outside our front door. I saw God just across the street from that building in a small food center called Glide.

Glide provides three free meals a day for each person that needs something to eat, totalling up to two thousand four hundred meals served in a single day. I had the opportunity to serve in this incredible ministry for one day alongside other students and I learned more about God in my eight hours serving than in all my Sundays in church.

My job was to wait and clear tables, and attend to any of the customers’ needs or requests. This gave me a lot of time to interact and meet the people of the community that were receiving these meals. One instance that I won’t soon forget happened with a man named Micah and a woman named Mabel.

One of my jobs was to clear trays and bring them to the dish washing station. If a tray had leftover food on it, I would offer it to anybody around me before throwing it away. Micah, a man in his forties with dark skin, patchy facial hair, and a favorite green beanie, came in for lunch and easily struck up conversation with me as I was passing by. He let me know to bring any leftover chicken right back to his plate, and I assured him that I would do just that. Micah, like many of the other customers, ate some of his plate and then placed the rest of it into a to-go container to save for later. Within the next five minutes, I had three plates of leftover chicken that I knew Micah would be excited to receive. I brought the plates back to his table and he gave me the biggest yellow-teeth smile he could. What Micah did next is not what I was expecting. He looked up around the table at the people he was eating lunch with and pointed at Mabel sitting across from him. “Put two of the plates in her container. I’m fine with just this one.” Micah gave a smile to the small older woman with grey hair and she simply gave a thankful nod as I did as he requested.

This moment happened in minutes but left me amazed months after it happened. I knew that neither Micah or Mabel had a house to go back to or even a bed to sleep in at night, and that food was a scarce blessing in their day to day lives. In my own mind, I would have thought it completely normal and justifiable for Micah to accept as much chicken as I could offer him and keep it safe so that nobody would try to take it. Instead, he looked around to see if there was anyone else in need beside himself, and chose to be a blessing to them more than to himself.

God spoke to me through this moment. This was a clear picture of how God wanted us all to act with the people around us. The amount of selflessness and compassion shown by Micah, who had barely anything to offer, taught me how God wants us to show compassion to others. This will remain one of the clearest images of God in my mind. In that cafeteria in the middle of one of the poorest areas, surrounded by some of the most ignored people, God showed me how He wants us love others, and how He loves us.