Earlier this week I was sitting in a barber shop watching my son get his hair cut.
There was this other kid sitting alone in the corner, which was close to where my seat was.
"Hey, you wanna play chess with me?" I heard him ask.
"I don't really feel up to it right now, kiddo. Maybe some other time." Yep, that was my reply. I didn't say it in a mean tone or anything like that. But I just wanted to sit alone in peace.
About five minutes later, he looked at me again.
"I really think you would have a great time if you played some chess with me."
I thought to myself, "Good grief, whose kid is this? And why does he want to keep bugging me?" That's what I thought at first. Not what I said.
Finally I looked at the boy and said, "OK, kid. I'll play a game with you." I surrendered and decided to just give the boy some attention.
So there we sat in the barber shop playing chess. Two strangers. Having fun.
We laughed and cut up. It turned out he didn't know the first thing about chess. I'm pretty doggone good at it, so I taught him a few things about the game. But that didn't matter. What mattered was that a lonely kid got some attention. And I must admit I had fun making him laugh.
Shortly before I left the barber shop with my son, an old lady walked up to me. The boy said, "This is my grandma." Then she looked at me and said, "Thanks for teaching him how to play chess. He's been asking me to teach him, but I just haven't had the time."
That moved me. That boy had been looking for somebody to just spend time with him. He was lonely and had been reaching out to whoever would give him the time of day.
As I sit here this morning, I'm glad I gave that kid some of my time.
And I'm glad that God is always there for us, twenty four hours a day. He is never too busy for us, and He does not put us off until later. "I am with you always, to the very end of the age," is what He tells us in Matthew 28:20.
Yep, the kid in the barber shop reminded this 43 year old guy of two important truths. One, everybody needs somebody to care and give them attention. And two, we have an awesome God who endlessly loves us and wants to fellowship with us. If we remember those two key truths, our lives will be richer and fuller.