As I rounded the bend in the road, the stop light turned red. I pulled slowly up to a stop waiting patiently for the light to change. A very thin, scruffy gentleman was standing to my right with a dark blue, battered backpack at his feet. His dirt covered hands held a small sign that read, “Hungry. Please help.” I knew I had $5.00 in my wallet-something unusual because cash is a rarity for me these days. My daughter sat unaware in the backseat as I reached over to grab the money & put the window down. “Sir! Hello, sir!” I called over the sound of traffic. He came up to the window & I apologized for only having a few dollars to give him, but he thanked me just the same & went back to his place by the side of the road. Hot and alone. Overlooked by so many.
My daughter’s eyes got big & she asked, “Mommy. Why did you do that?” I explained to her that this man was hungry & he needed help to buy food, so we helped him. I asked her if she knew what Jesus says about helping others. She said, we are supposed to be kind. I agreed and took it a little further. I told her Jesus said that every time we see someone in need, we are looking at Jesus. He told us that when we help people who are in need, we are actually helping Jesus. By loving them, we show Jesus how much we love Him. She mumbled, “Okay” and went back to singing along to the radio.
I said those things to her not only in an attempt to burn these teachings into her heart, but to also help change mine. I need to be better at seeing Jesus everywhere I go. I need to be better at being His hands and feet. I need my heart softened to His will. I want to see people the way Jesus does. And I want my children to understand this one principle so much–that Jesus loves them and everyone! No matter who they are, or where they’re from. And we love them too.
Author, Jamie Wright, says at the end of her novel, The Very Worst Missionary, “Show up as needed to love your neighbor with eyes wide open and your arms outstretched. Start by doing your best…and then, tomorrow, do better.” I genuinely want to be a better Christian. And I know this gentleman probably didn’t use the money for food, but, you know what? I prayed over that $5.00 all the way home. And I prayed specifically for him. So I’m going to trust that at some point in his beautiful life, he will meet the glorious love of Jesus! And that tomorrow, through grace, I will have the opportunity to give and share Christ’s love all over again.