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One day this week I was in a hurry to get to the bank counter in our neighborhood grocery store. I could see ahead there was already a line and only one teller working. As I made my way there, an eldely man got in front of me with his shopping cart. He was very short and round with pants buckled tightly around his chest (you know, how your grandpa wore his pants) and he was plodding along painfully slow. Impatience started to rise up in me because I was in such a hurry. But I absolutely love elderly people so my impatience melted into a smile as I wondered what his life was like.
I finally made it to the back of the line in front of the teller. The customer at the front of the line was having issues and took at least ten minutes. While we were all waiting our turn, I watched the old man shuffle with his shopping cart over to the ATM. There were only a few meager items in the cart. He slowly took out his debit card and inserted it into the slot. I wasn't trying to look...I didn't mean to look...but the writing on the screen was so large that I could read it very clearly from where I was in line several feet away.
His balance was twenty five dollars. So many thoughts raced through my mind when I saw it. First, guilt at having seen it, then horror that he only had twenty five dollars for the food in his buggy, then anger that a man who has probably worked hard all his life only had twenty five dollars for food.
I watched as he looked down in his cart. I knew he was mentally adding up the cost of the food he had placed in it. He slowly put his wallet back in his pocket, his hand shaking and shuffled off to put some of the food back. My mind was racing. I had no cash with me but as soon as I got up to the teller, I could make my deposit, get some cash and give it to him.
But that darn lady with the issues was still arguing with the teller and there were others ahead of me. I impatiently waited and at last, there was only one more customer ahead of me. He began to talk to the teller and it turned out that they attend the same church. So a long conversation ensued about how much they love their church. I wanted to yell that there was an old man in the store that the three of us could help if we would just pull our resources together. But I didn't say anything. Why? I'm usually so bold about those kinds of things. And I could tell that the other two were very kind and probably would have responded positively to my plea.
My turn came and I made my deposit and got some cash. I went through the grocery store, aisle by aisle, but I couldn't find my little elderly man. I walked to my car in tears trying to imagine what his life looked like. Does he have family that visits him? Does anyone care enough to check on his food situation? Why didn't I do something faster so that I could have helped him?
The Scripture in Matthew 25 came to my mind where people were telling God of all the great things they had done for Him in their lifetime. But He said, "I never knew you. I was hungry and you never fed me, I was thirsty and you didn't give me drink." I don't want to be that person. I felt like the Lord was gently telling me that He wasn't angry with me. He just wants me to always be aware of those people around me who need anything and be willing to do what I can.
There is a bumper sticker that reads "If Christianity was illegal, would there be enough evidence to convict you?". I want to make sure that my life shows what is written in my heart! When I bump up against hurting people, I want them to feel so much love coming from me that they feel accepted and heard and valued. I have often given someone a few dollars or some groceries, but I felt like I had failed that day. It reminded me to not hesitate or wait, when I feel the nudging of the Lord to bless someone. I have thought about that man every day since and I know I won't make the same mistake again.
From His lap,