So I was on my way to the mall earlier to buy a sweater, and as I got off the bus, I ran into this homeless man sitting on the bench. He asked me for $.50. I gave him the $.50 plus a church flyer that read: “JESUS IS COMING. ARE YOU READY?” Then I topped it off by adding, “God loves you.”
Yay! I felt accomplished. I ministered to a homeless man AND I gave him some spare change. What!? 5 extra cool points with Jesus, right??? … No?? As I got ready to walk away, he looked down at the flyer, then looked back up at me and said, “I’m hungry.”
We stood there awkwardly and stared at each other for a moment, as I began to contemplate what did he expect me to do about his hunger pains. “Where do you want to eat,” I asked him. “Do you want some McDonald’s or something?”
He pointed across the street to a Chinese food restaurant. I gave him a blank stare and there was another awkward silence. “OK, well, if you’re still here when I come back out, I’ll buy you something to eat,” I said.
“Thank you, sir,” he replied.
I preceded inside the mall and wasn’t planning on meeting that man’s needs. I thought he was trying to hustle me. How many other people had he been taking money from? He didn’t even look homeless.
As I was searching the store, looking for that perfect winter sweater, I heard in my conscience, “Unless your righteousness supersedes that of the Pharisees and Scribes … He’s out there hungry. And you’re in here buying clothes. Which one of you have the greater need?” I tried to ignore the voice, but I was convicted.
Proverbs 3:27-28 NLT
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow”– when you now have it with you.
1 John 3:17 NLT
If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
James 2:14-16 NLT
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
So I stopped shopping, left the mall, went back out to the homeless man, took him across the street and treated him to some Chinese food. I also got a chance to minister to him on a more personal level to see where he was at in his relationship with God and I taught him how he could be secure of his salvation, because he said he didn’t know for sure if he’d be ready for Jesus’ return. As I sat next to him and watched him eat, I saw how he was just digging in. He must’ve been really hungry. I asked him if he wanted the fortune cookie but he said no. So I ate the cookie. And when I read the fortune inside, it read: “You are very appreciated by your company.” Wow!! That seemed almost prophetic.
Matthew 5:41-42 NIV
If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
How many of you all will allow God to stretch your love like that?