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I walked to Target

I saw Jesus today. At my apartment complex. He bore a strange resemblance to a seven year old boy. . .


“Hey, wait a minute,” he said. I looked at him. He called out again, and jogged toward me. “Where are ya goin’?” he asked.


“Can I walk with you—I’m going to my friend’s house and it’s on the way to Target.”


“Good, I’ll have some company. Why are you walking to Target instead of driving?”

(“So I’d have something to write about?”)

As this boy and I walked together and talked for only a tenth of a mile, I learned a lot. He was on his way to his cousin’s apartment. I commented on how nice that was, and he responded, ”yeah I’m lucky that my cousin lives in my apartment complex.”

I told him that my cousins always lived far away, but we enjoyed it when we got together. His response, intended to wish me similar good fortune, was, “I wish that everybody could live near their friends.”

This brief conversation probably lasted less than two minutes, but oh the lessons to be learned from it!

“Why are you walking to Target?” The apartment complex I live in is across the street from the midwest’s favorite department store. It’s a short walk—down the drive, across the ditch, and across the street into the Target parking lot. It is not, however, a walk that most people would take in our autocentric culture. I choose to walk places to be outside, to get a little exercise, and to get away from the car I spend hundreds of hours with and thousands of dollars on. If I hadn’t walked, I wouldn’t have met my new friend. We wouldn’t have chatted. I wouldn’t be writing this story.

“Good, it’s nice to have company.” I remember when I was a young boy walking alone to my grandma’s house. Just like this situation, it was a very short walk. But I was often afraid. I used to call for our dogs so they would be with me. I know how my young friend felt. I also know how he felt because I am single and live alone—I treasure any opportunity to be around other people, especially friendly ones. Oh, how I wish I could do as he did: simply select a passerby and say, “Hey, can I walk with you? It’s good to have some company.”

“I wish everybody could live near their friends.” Boy, so do I. Why on earth don’t we? Why do we spread ourselves all over creation, leaving friends and family chasing success. I know, mine is a simplistic argument—there are careers and opportunities and desires. And I’m as guilty as anyone. But what I’d like to know is when it became abnormal to live close to friends and family. Immigrants and pioneers crossed seas and plains with close friends and their families. Parents and their grown children once worked or at least lived in close proximity. Grandparents once helped raise the kids. In college, my friends and I dined at a table for twenty and didn’t hesitate to stop by one another’s rooms unannounced for a visit. Once upon a time neighbors could be found sitting on each other’s porches sipping a glass of lemonade, or in the kitchen chatting over a cup of coffee. I wish everybody could live near their friends.

I’m so glad I walked to Target tonight. Not only did I get to serve this young friend as though he were Christ, not only did I learn from him and receive a blessing from his company, I had a chance to be Jesus to this boy as I befriended him. Won’t you find somewhere to walk, someone to keep you company, and someplace where you can be among friends? Won’t you seek to be a friend, and a servant of Christ for someone else, today?

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

- Matthew 25:40

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of heaven like a little child will never enter it.”

-Mark 10:15

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