I was doing errands with the kids the other day around lunchtime, so I bribed Cole with a B-Bops hamburger if he would just hang with me for one more errand. He acquiesced, we finished our mission, and we started on our way to the drive through. As we sat at a red light, we saw two dirty men, with a guitar and a dog, holding a sign that said “hungry and broke”. And, very uncharacteristically, I had the thought, “I want to buy them lunch”. Now if you know me well, you will realize that I sometimes lack mercy and say things like “Get a job!” to people like that (they can’t hear me with my windows up), forgetting that they are actually “people"…people who God created…people who God loves. I set myself above them because I am not dirty and tattered and poor. I play the superior game…when we all know it is for no other reason than God’s grace that I am where I am—clean, comfortable, and secure. I do these things because I don’t see others the way that God sees others--as His beloved children. But lately, I have been hanging out with my friend Sarah, and Sarah loves people—all kinds of people. And she gives them dignity by just noticing them—whether they are cleaning bathrooms or hotel rooms or serving food or driving taxis. She reflects Jesus by her love for these folks. Now she doesn’t do anything specific to make these folks feel special, she just engages them in conversation and cares about their lives—just like Jesus would—and did. So anyway, I think a little of Sarah is rubbing off on me, cause when I saw those down-and-out guys, I felt love for them and I wanted to bring them joy, or at least a hamburger.
So with excitement that my kids thought was weird, I drove through B-Bops and got each of the strangers a double burger with everything (along with some burgers for us as well) and a glass of water. I then drove back to the corner where they were camped, parked my car in the adjacent lot, and presented them with some lunch. They were surprised. And I was thrilled. One of them said, “You’re the first person that has responded to us in any way” and I was soooo glad I had been hanging out with Sarah and I was soooo glad God had given me the opportunity to feed them. God had enabled me to take the plank out of my eye so I could see the suffering—and the hunger—and the realness--of others. I had not let Him do this before and had missed out on the joy I was now experiencing.
As the guy with the guitar eagerly dug into his burger, the other man thanked us profusely. When we left, I told them that we were Christians, and that in the Bible it said that if we fed someone who was hungry, we were really feeding Jesus.
Jesus was dirty that day. and he had dreadlocks. and a mangy dog. and a beat up guitar.
And I got to feed Him.
What a privilege!
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“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.’