(Ten years ago, NAMB produced a video about Vaughn McLamb and his best friend Taylor. Here’s the story of how God formed the oddest of odd couples. Their story is featured in the August 17, 2020, episode of the Stories of Hope Podcast.)
Coffee. A sandwich. A cold cup of Kool-Aid to cure a parched throat. And the genuine, warm smile from the one who gives it to you.
As complicated as we can sometimes make relationships, even those revolving around the gospel, sometimes it really is as simple as the kindness you give.
That’s what drew Vaughn McLamb and Taylor Field together. Two men from completely polar opposite corners of life—Taylor, a pastor at New York City’s Graffiti Church and Vaughn a homeless man who at one point in his life made getting a fix his life’s work.
Tompkins Square Park, in the Alphabet City portion of East Village Manhattan, was closest thing to an address Vaughn had before he and Taylor met. And by the time that happened, Vaughn was well on his way to a perennial state of hopelessness.
“At my worst, I found myself laid on that bench in the park saying, ‘My life is finished. I have no purpose. Why bother? I have no more use.”
But Vaughn was wrong.
Pastor Taylor and Graffiti showed up with the coffee, the sandwich, the cold Kool-Aid and the genuine smiles. And Vaughn began to feel something shift in his soul.
“When I think about it, it started with the sandwich, the coffee, the Kool-Aid and the individual giving it to me really wanting me to have it,” Vaughn said.
It was the open door that allowed Taylor access to lead Vaughn’s heart to Christ, which gave way to the two of them becoming close friends. It’s also what gave Taylor the privilege of seeing first-hand God’s miraculous, redemptive power at work. And it wasn’t long before Vaughn started returning the favor, leading the feeding ministry that was a catalyst to bringing him new life. And that’s how he spent the rest of his life before passing away of cancer.
Vaughn said of himself that the more he learned about Jesus, the more distance he felt between his new life and his old life. And then there’s Taylor’s take on his life.
“When I see how Vaughn has drawn other people to the Lord, I can say from experience, there’s no one that’s too far gone.”
That’s the power of change. That’s the power of friendship and the power of the gospel.