Do you ever do something (or not do something) and immediately regret it? I had an opportunity I recently passed up because I was in a hurry, and it took all of a couple minutes for me to realize I was wrong.
I was leaving Chick-fil-A when I looked up and noticed a homeless person with a sign that simply read “hungry” at the exit of the parking lot. There l was, chicken sandwich in hand, fries in the console, waiting to pull out for a solid minute.
I had no cash, I was in a hurry to get to an appointment out of town, and I had already taken a bite out of my sandwich. I sat there trying to think of a solution, insecure about the fact that this hungry man had watched me take a huge bite out of my sandwich.
Traffic moved on, and I left, frustrated at myself for not making more of an effort to help this person who just needed to eat. As I drove away, I took another bite, ate a couple fries, and slowly started to not enjoy my food as I started thinking about the situation more.
“For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I 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.”
Jesus talked about separating the sheeps from the goats, those he knew from those he didn’t know, and the distinction he made boiled down to what you did for “the least of these.”
Presented with a real life example, I drove away from the hungry in the pursuit of my own self-interest. This is an isolated incident, of course, but it woke me up and reminded me of what’s important.
We can get so swept away in our own desires, schedules, priorities, agendas, preferences, and “rights,” that we miss the point. We miss the one thing that actually makes life meaningful, for the sake of a lesser, selfish pursuit.