After a great afternoon in Bangor, I was preparing to head home and decided to treat myself to some Taco Bell for the drive. I had $11 in my wallet and headed for the drive-thru to get my fast food fix (I’m trying to be good, not perfect).
As I was pulling around, I saw two people scavenging for scraps in the dumpster behind the restaurant. Their heads immediately dropped so their faces stared at nothing but the ground as my headlights shone on them momentarily. It was obvious they were ashamed. They did have jackets on, but it was still cold outside (in the 30’s). No gloves.
As I rolled my window down on the approach to the automated order box, I asked the man if he was alright. He looked up and said he and his female friend were just looking for some food…hoping there were some scraps in the trash. He then asked if I could spare any change.
I thought for a moment. Luckily, there was no one behind me in the line and I had not yet reached the point where the employee was asking for my order. “If you’re hungry, I’d say we’re at the right place,” I replied to him. “Give me a minute.”
I pulled ahead and, not sure which style of food they preferred, ordered a $5 box from Taco Bell as well as a $5 fill-up meal from KFC. When the order, which came to just under the $11 I had to my name, was handed to me, I circled around the restaurant again and handed the meals and beverages to the man and the woman beside him.
“It’s not much,” I told him. “I wish I could do more.”
Before I could say anything more, his face lit up at the same time his eyes watered. “You kidding me?” he asked. “This will feed us for two days…maybe three if I can resist temptation.” I laughed at that, because God knows I have little willpower.
“Jesus loves you,” he told me. It shook me, because I was going to say the same thing to him. Here I was being ministered to by someone whom I was hoping to minister to. “I know,” I told him. “Jesus loves you, too. I don’t live around here, and I don’t have a home of my own to bring you to, but I will pray for you,” I told him as I began to drive away.
Jesus not only loved, but prioritized ‘the least of these’. No matter their intentions—and whether their situation was partly or completely precipitated by their own detrimental actions, or if they just fell on hard times—it is our job as Christians and humans to love and help people we see in need.
The greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. It’s easy to say, but seemingly impossible to do…yet that’s the decree. And not once in a while, when we feel like it or when we gain some sort of recognition from it…but daily. This kind of selfless love does not always have to be expressed by money or goods…if a smile, kind word, extended hand or hug is all you can offer…it will still make an impact.
That’s what Jesus did. That’s how He lived…and implored us to love the same way. I pulled onto Broadway last night with a destination, but had no idea the journey I was about to take. I didn’t need a burrito, but someone needed a blessing. And I received one, too. Be a blessing today. Let your spirit be moved by compassion for others, not indifference or entitlement. Think of the most selfless thing you can do for someone, and do it