I thought he was drunk. His speech was sluggish and slurred and he seemed a little unstable as he stood up to address us. He had been sitting outside on curb of the sidewalk of the restaurant my friend and I were going into. He addressed us very politely, “excuse me, do either of you have $4.98?” We Both said no. He explained, “I can’t afford to eat in this restaurant but I can get a meal at McDonalds for $4.98..”
We kept walking, It wasn’t lying to say I didn’t have $4.98. I did have 2 $20 dollar bills in my wallet. I intended to get change inside the restaurant and give him a $5 but as we walked in my friend and I decided that giving him $5 could just be enabling an addiction. What we could’ve done, what we should’ve done is say, join us for lunch Jesus.
We entered, were seated and due to the buffet style of dining, were preoccupied with filling our plates. We didn’t see how it happened that the two people seated at a table next to ours were the gentleman from the curb and another man. It was not obvious whether or not the second man knew the man from the curb.
I had the idea to pay for both of their lunches but missed my chance by hesitating.
“For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:11-18
In Matthew Jesus talks about those who show by their actions, who their heart belongs to.
“42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”
Our gentleman from the curb was polite and courteous to the wait staff and to his host who brought him in and fed him. When he stood up from the table he seemed more steady on his feet than he had been before eating. To my shame I realized what I had seen as symptoms of intoxication and possible addiction were more probably physical impairments.
in Hebrews we see this: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
I may have missed my chance to dine with an angel. Due to his down trodden appearance he could have into “the least of these” category and so had I treated him to lunch, my friend and I might have had an opportunity to dine with Jesus.
Because of my limited exposure and isolated lifestyle This situation does not come up very often. You can be certain that I will be more watchful.
I very much want to serve my master. Forgive me Lord for missing you that day.