Dining With Donald
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
~ John 13: 34-35
I saw him sitting on the low wall. I had an apple in my hand feeling pretty good about myself offering a free apple from the hotel lobby. Not much to give, and it didn’t cost me a thing. Pretty apples just sitting there in a big pile, when outside the door were people who had no homes, no food, nothing really.
So I sat down beside him and offered him the apple. He looked at me and said, “No thank you. I can’t eat it. I don’t have any teeth.”
Wow, I thought, here I take an apple from a hotel lobby thinking of doing a good deed, and offer it to a poor man with no teeth. My gift was pathetic, and so were my efforts. So I sat there and just talked to him. I learned his name was Donald. He did not seem to be under the influence of anything, and he told me a little about his life. He was just a worn down older man, without a home. He told me a group of church ladies once prayed for him. Somehow that seemed a little like a comparison to my apple offer.
I went back to my hotel on a new mission. I got a little money, and walked back to where he was sitting. I gave him the money and said, “Donald, my husband is at a business dinner. I will be eating alone. Would you like to be my guest for dinner?” His answer, “Yes.”
So we marched over there to that fancy Omni Hotel, Donald in his worn clothes with his backpack slung over his shoulder, and I, walked right into that elaborate lobby, and went straight past the pretty display of apples, to that fancy restaurant with white tablecloths. The waiter was kind, and the chef even sent a little something special to our table. Donald and I had a wonderful dinner, with good conversation. He was a nice man and I enjoyed his company.
This was an instant where I felt like preaching to him was not what God wanted. I did pray before the meal, but other than that, I just showed him love. After dinner, I gave him a big hug and let him go.
Sometimes I think, that is all our ministry requires. Just showing God’s love. We don’t always need to have an agenda to sell. Sometimes it’s just being the compassion of God.
When God gives you a nudge to buy a sandwich, or a soda, or a bag of goodies to give to someone, do it. When we do it in His name, it is the same as doing it for Him. We don’t always have to sell our God, just be our God and love.
Dear Lord, I know I can’t help every homeless person, but nudge me to help those I can. Amen
~ Jenny Calvert