I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me! Matthew 25:40 NLT
He pushed a buggy and always appeared to be in a hurry.
“I hate to throw away all those leftovers,” my wife said as we sat at the supper table.
Cooking for two people is challenging, and she had prepared too much for our New Year’s meal. We had eaten leftovers twice and still had more to consume.
“What would be wrong with me warming the leftovers up for the homeless man down the street,” she asked.
“Nothing,” I replied, seeing her big heart explode with moisture in her eyes.
Recently, two homeless men had moved into our area. One stayed in a small shack by a local business. So my wife warmed up the leftovers and placed them in several to-go plates. We pulled up to his shack and told him we had some food for him. His response puzzled us.
“You can take it and give it your dogs,” he muttered as he shook his head back and forth.
“But, it’s home-cooked food,” my wife protested.
Her pleading did no good. He became more irritated and made more demeaning remarks. He wanted money to buy his own food but would not take ours. Perhaps he was mentally challenged. Perhaps he feared we were trying to poison him.
“Just leave,” I finally told my wife. And we did as he continued to rant and rave at us.
Jesus lists the thirsty, hungry, prisoners, naked, strangers, and sick among those we should serve in His name, but He never said our efforts would be easy, convenient, or always accepted with warmth and appreciation.
Having this encounter with this one homeless man would make it easy for me to stereotype all homeless people. Instead, I prayed for him that night, asking God to soften his heart towards people who might try to help him. And when God prompts us, my wife and I will help again.
God judges my motives, not the people’s response who I try to assist. He holds me accountable for doing the right thing whether others appreciate it or not. And doing the right thing always feels right because it is the right thing to do. God’s love cannot be contained in a body. It must flow to others as God designed it to.
Prayer: Father, give us opportunities to serve the least of this world, realizing we could be where they are.