“No thanks, this lunch is good.”

Am I the only one who looks into the eyes of a homeless person begging on the street and sends up a prayer, yet drive off feeling guilty? I picture a time in my future when the Lord will say “you did to me like you did to the least of these”. And I drove PAST him as he held a sign, “hungry, food or anything will help”. Is that all I can do? Look into his eyes and pray?

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, for whatever you did for one of the least of these brother and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

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The daughter and I had just went to get a tanning package {hold the judgment, please} for heaven’s sake! It isn’t like we aren’t able to help. “You know, I really feel convicted about driving past not one, but two homeless people”. “Yea mom, there are a lot of them here.” Together we wonder why and about 200 feet down the road I ask if it is okay with her if we turn around. I just can’t know that these people represent Jesus and I am driving past them. So really, is it them I am concerned about or my own stinking self?

Turning left, there’s a safe place to hop out of the car long enough to survey what we have with us. My car is often fondly referred to as the oversized purse so I find a green bag and I am in luck. I have several items that were awaiting my next trip to Salvation Army: a nearly new pair of athletic shoes, a pair of jeans, and a t-shirt. Our recent grocery-store trip left behind a box of protein bars and two unopened bottles of water. We are feeling good because this is shaping into a pretty nice care package. That’s a God-moment in itself. Next stop on the list is my wallet. How much cash do I have? $8 so we add that to the bag.

Now heading back to the intersection where the homeless are gazing into the eyes of every passerby, I miss the turn and it takes us right past a really crowded Chick-fil-A. We whip into a parking spot and I run inside for two combo meals packaged separately. Jogging in and out of traffic, I make my way back to the car and see that the man has moved. Probably the woman would have greater needs if she has children elsewhere, so let’s give the bag of stuff to her. We are able to drive right up to the man and I ask if they are together. No, they aren’t. “Here’s a bag of lunch. I hope you enjoy it.” “God bless you” he says with a broad, but tired smile. “And you too.”

We navigate our way back into all the traffic so we will be positioned nearest the woman as we exit. While I ease forward in traffic, Miriam offers the lunch and the lady quickly accepts. Cars are honking and we tell her we have a bag of things that may be helpful…offering for her to take it. She peers in to see. Miriam opens the bag to show her and she politely says “no thanks, lunch is good.” So we both drive off, dumbfounded.

All the thoughts running through my head which we discuss are: Wow! Her sign said “anything will help”. And then we realize oh gosh, the $8 was unintentionally hidden from sight in the bag, surely she could use that. But it is too late, our opportunity has passed. We look at each other and think we really can’t believe she turned down our gift. I mean nothing in the bag was dirty or worn out. It just didn’t fit any longer. But she missed the $8 which I am sure she could use. We rode on down the road pondering what just happened.

How many times has there been a needed gift right in front of us, but our human nature, our flesh takes over and we say “No thanks, this lunch will be good?” We pray and we seek God, but the gift and the giver are right before our nose and we just roll on. Are we on the look out? Do we slow ourselves enough to see the hidden gifts in the small, unexpected places of life?

I thank God for this opportunity for two reasons:

  1. It helps me to realize that my obedience to the Lord is still my obedience whether or not others receive the gift I am offering. This includes the gift of faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
  2. It helps me to know that there are probably gifts in the small of life that I have dismissed because it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

What about you? Have you received the gift of faith in Jesus Christ? Are you being faithfully obedient to Him and His commands? What gifts are you, like me, dismissing because you have something else in mind?

Lord, forgive us when our motivations are impure. Help us to be more like you. Help us to love like you love and to love others the way you want us to love them. Give us discipline to find you in the small of life, uncovering the gifts you have tucked away that simply await us. Praying in Jesus’ name. Amen.

4 thoughts on ““No thanks, this lunch is good.”

  1. Sometimes it’s easier to stew about our gift (is it good enough? what will people think? is this really a gift) than it is to faithfully go forth and use it! Stopping by from Friday Shares at Hope*Writers :).

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    1. Hi Anita! Thank you for sharing your perspective…oh my how many times I have questioned “is this really a gift”. I pray that God will help us all to use what He has given us. I appreciate your stopping by and the sisterhood at Hope*Writers.

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  2. I’m so thankful for this as it is an encouragement and is a reminder to not only stop where you are to give when you see a need, but to also evaluate when something is being offered to me and it’s not exactly what I THINK I need. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you Kristen! I am grateful it is an encouragement to you. The world tells us to get what we want (our flesh) so we all need the moments of evaluation for what the Lord wants for us or places in our path.

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