Sitting quietly at the store today, it was a gloomy and wet afternoon, my mom and i were just each looking up different things on the internet. The door suddenly opened ringing all the bells at the door along with it. I jumped up, walked outside and came face to face with a stranger. A stranger that i’ve never seen before. Dressed in a thin soaked jacket, that was almost falling apart at it’s seams. Ruffled unwashed dark hair, and dark fingernails. Standing in front of him, i smelled a really distinct scent of old heavy smoke. A brief moment of silence passed by, and i spoke, with the usual phrase that i’ve said SO many times before “Hi there, something i can help you with?” With a thick accent he replied “I’m looking for a job, i can clean.” Slightly still taking in what was going on, i told him “i’m sorry, we’re not hiring here.” To that, he nodded understandingly and asked “can i have water then?” Of course my response was “Sure, just give me a moment.” Immediately i told my mom to come out, and “look after” him, while i head to the back room to grab a cup of water. Strangely the only thing that went through my mind was only to find the styrofoam cups. Gulping down the first cup of water, he asked “one more?” and thrust the cup back to me. A little shocked i still managed to say “Sure.” and rushed to the back again, almost if i was scared to leave this man outside with my mom for more than a few seconds something might happen. After finishing the second cup of water, he threw out the cup in one of the garbage cans we had outside, and said a quick “thank you”. As he was walking to the door, once again i said a phrase that i’ve rehearsed so many times, in the most cheerful and preppy voice i say “No problem. Have a good day!” and at that the man walked off.
Moments after he left, my mom told me to go sweep the floor. I questioned why that was necessary and she told me that while i was getting water at the back, he scratched his help and she saw things fall from him. Not knowing what i might have been, i obediently went to sweep. While i was doing that my mom also said “Daughter, i don’t think i can ever be a missionary. Or go with you to Africa if God calls you there.” That’s what got me to start thinking.
I must confess, that my initial feeling towards that man, was to take a step back and try to be as far possible as i could without him thinking that i’m avoiding him. And when he asked for a cup of water the reason why i was looking for a styrofoam cup was not cuz it was convienent, but more so, if i gave him a drink in one of the ceramic cups that we use, do i throw it out after? or would i just wash it?
Then my mom’s comment really struck me. What IF someone like that walked into our church sunday morning? How would the congragation react? and even more personally…how would I personally react? Yea i gave him a cup of water. But was it because i saw him through God’s eyes and loved him like Christ does? Or was it because i was merely scared that he’ll beat me up if i didn’t give him some water?
I was reminded of the passage in Matthew.
31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Just really got me thinking. Will reflect more later.