In the cold, crisp, December air, I see my breath as I scurry about, trying desperately to make progress on my never-ending to-do list. Scampering quickly from one store to the next, I barely noticed the disheveled homeless man holding a cup in his cold, chapped hands. He didn’t say a word, merely sat quietly on a remnant of a crocheted blanket. Dirty, grimy, probably hadn’t showered in weeks. Suddenly my heart was overwhelmed with compassion and I wondered how he might have ended up in such a bad way.
I stepped inside the door of a little shop so he wouldn’t see me, and reached inside my pockets to see what cash I had. I’m fairly disorganized, so I found a crumpled up dollar here, and a folded dollar there. I also found gum wrappers, ticket stubs and store receipts– those would do him no good. Counting, one, two, five, ten… $15. Enough for a warm meal and a cup of coffee. I would offer to take him to the small coffee shop down the road where I happened to know the owner. I knew, too, that she made delightful grilled cheese sandwiches on jalapeño bread, and brewed the very richest, strong cup of coffee around. Yes, this would be my feel-good, good deed of the day.
Feeling better about myself, I turned and pushed the door of the shop, ready to approach my homeless friend. To my dismay, he and his blanket were gone! Where could he have gone so fast? It was literally just moments ago that I had brushed past him! And then I remembered two scriptures. The first, “be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unaware” (Hebrews 13:2 KJV). And the second, Matthew 25:40 “in as much as you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto me.”
My heart sank with grief. Had I missed an opportunity to do something for one of God’s angels? Why hadn’t I thought faster, or been more prepared with a message? I was so wrapped up in my own list of meaningless things to do that I forgot about doing things that truly matter. I prayed to ask God to forgive me and help me to recognize more quickly the opportunities He gives to be a blessing to others.
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