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Friday, November 30, 2012
The Beggar and Me
Matthew 25:37-40 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' "
The picture on the left is one of me several years ago when I was "locked up" to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Last night I had to run an unexpected errand to pick up a plastic tub to hold water for our outdoor feral cats. I was in a hurry and wanted to get home where I could finish editing a Christmas story in progress. After purchasing my item, I headed home. Evening traffic had begun to accumulate causing backups on the main road.
I sat at a stoplight and from the corner of my eye, watched a man holding a sign that said "Hungry. Please help. Anything appreciated. God bless." I tried not to meet his eyes and anxiously waited for the light to turn green so I could move on. I didn't want to give the man money for I knew it would probably go to alcohol or even worse. But when the light turned and I moved on, something happened.
God spoke to me loud and clear. It was one of those moments when I knew I had to be still and know He was God.
I turned my car around, heedless of the long wait in heavy traffic, drove to the closest fast food restaurant and purchased a combo meal. Then I drove back to where that man had been. I saw him walking toward me, his gait slow and heavy. Although it was cold, he wore only a light jacket. A rather large cross on a heavy chain hung upon a t-shirt. His face was beard stubbled (white), and he appeard to be in his late fifties. I stopped the car and rolled down the window.
When I held out the bag of food and the drink, his face broke into a smile. He said, "Oh, how wonderful. Thank you." Then he sat the food on the ground and said, "Wait!"
He fumbled inside his jacket and said, "I write Christian poetry. I want you to have this, but I want you to have the best copies." He pulled out two shabby copies of poems and handed them to me. "God bless you," I said. He responded, "He has." He made the sign of the cross and I moved on.
Whether the food was what he truly needed or not, I don't know. I only know that I was blessed in the giving.
What do you do when you see someone who is begging? Do you meet their eyes? Do you wonder what their story is? Do you look at them the way Jesus would?