CHURCH HILL, Tenn. (BP) — The other day I took my 11-year-old to get a haircut. We went early on a Saturday to try to beat the crowd and were pleasantly surprised when we walked in. There was only one other person in front of his name when I wrote it on the sign-in sheet.
When one of the hair stylists called his name, he went back and took a seat in the chair. After I briefly described how he wanted it cut, I sat down to wait. Normally, I would distract myself with an app on my phone or pick up a magazine on a nearby table. On this particular day, I did neither.
The storefront was completely glass from top to bottom. Because we had started out early that morning, the fog was still pulling away from the mountains in the distance. My gaze was drawn to God’s creation.
Moments earlier, I had been distracted by my to-do list for the day, but in looking at the picture-perfect scenery, my thoughts gradually transitioned to our heavenly Father. Not only did He want me not to miss the opportunity of the beauty outside, He was preparing my heart for an opportunity inside the little shop.
A man with a nearly bald head, scraggly goatee and large overcoat stepped inside. He spoke to one of the ladies who had a client in her chair. From their conversation, I determined that she was expecting him.
He kindly asked if he could throw away his empty cup in their trashcan and then sat down next to me.
Once it was his turn, he was quick to offer his spot to another lady who was waiting with her daughter, but the hairstylist said it was his turn and that it was OK.
Normally, I wouldn’t have paid much attention to this encounter. But because I had been worshipping God in my heart through the magnificent landscape, my heart had become tender to what was going on around me.
He sat down in the chair and requested a beard trimming service. As the woman covered him with a cape and prepared to work, he mentioned that he could only tip her a dollar because he only had six dollars. The price for a beard trim was five bucks. She was kind and said it was totally up to him.
I wondered if that was the only money he had. As my heart filled with compassion, I imagined that he had slept on a sidewalk somewhere the night before and had not eaten much of anything in the past few days. The three sizes too big coat he had on hid his frame. I knew that beneath the bulk of the material hid the true story.
All I knew was that this man probably wanted to feel better — feel human — by tending to his appearance.
When she finished, they made their way over to the cash register. Without thinking twice, I popped up and asked if I could pay for his service. He humbly obliged and thanked me several times. I thanked him for allowing me the privilege.
Before he left, he stopped at the door and asked what church I went to. I told him Ridgeview Baptist Church in Church Hill, Tenn. I wondered why he had assumed that I went to church just because I had paid what he owed.
As my son and I drove home, I thought again about the question from the stranger at the store. I realized that through the unexpected act of unconditional love, God had been revealed. 1 John 4:19 came to mind: “We love because he first loved us.”
In showing me the beauty of His creation, God had opened the door for me to obey, and both the man and I experienced a blessing.