Once there was a man called Simon, and he trudged his weary way to work one morning, unaware that this was no ordinary day. As he walked along, he passed an old man who was busking on the high street, playing a battered old acoustic guitar. The old man looked hungry, and his hands were blistered from playing the guitar, but the music he played was so beautiful Simon stopped a while to listen, and when the song ended, he talked to the old man.
Simon found out that the man’s name was Paul, and that he had been busking that part of the high street for years, initially singing, then adding the guitar once he had raised money to buy it. He was now saving for an electric guitar and an amp, but was finding busking increasingly hard as the cold weather bit, and his old voice showed his age.
Simon’s heart was touched, and he gave the old man a plectrum (he always carried a plectrum in his pocket in case of impromptu jamming sessions). Paul thanked him, then took the plectrum and played a new song for Simon. Simon recorded the song on his phone, then continued to work, thinking how dull his day would be after that bright interlude.
As Simon sat in his office, with nothing much to do, the song drifted to the front of his mind, and he uploaded it onto his work computer, then played it on the speakers. Hearing it again, Simon noticed new messages coming through the song, and his heart was moved anew. He forwarded the song to his friends, along with a plea for them to take a few minutes out of their day to visit Paul, the lonely busker, and to hear his wonderful music in person.
Simon had a few days off after that, and it was almost a week before he saw Paul again, but when he did, he was happy to see him playing an electric guitar (albeit a shabby second hand one with a small amp) and still using Simon’s plectrum.
Paul stopped playing, and shook Simon’s hand “I am happy to have met you, since you gave me this plectrum people have stopped to hear my music, and smiled at me. I have earned enough for this guitar, and all my dreams have come true”
Simon’s heart was touched anew by the man’s gratitude and small dreams, and he told Paul how he had shared the song with his friends. Paul was moved by Simon’s kindness, and began to weep. Simon gave Paul his handkerchief, and a scarf to keep out the cold. He also gave Paul the sandwich he’d brought with him for lunch, and a fully stamped coffee shop card that Paul could use to get a free coffee. Paul pressed a piece of paper into Simon’s hand, and said “God bless you, and thank you for your kindness”.
As Simon left Paul, to trudge to work once more, he heard him play a new song, a song of joy, he felt he’d heard it somewhere before. He looked at the paper, which said “Mt25:40″.
When he got to the office, he looked up the bible passage at Matthew chapter 25, verse 40, which read “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”, and he knew where he had heard the song before.
Once, in his younger days, he had heard the song of the angels, along with a promise that he would hear it again someday. He ran out of the office to the high street, and there was Paul, playing his wonderful music. Just for a second, Simon was sure he saw a glow from Paul, and wings tucked behind his hunched shoulders, then Paul, the guitar, the music and all were gone in a blaze of light. While Simon’s work was no more interesting from that day onwards, he found a new strength to face it, and a renewed joy in working, not for his employer, but for the glory of God.
Simon learned that day that angels can be found in all shapes and situations, and that generosity returns in unexpected ways.