For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat

Jesus said that when we feed someone who is hungry, we are feeding Him. To put that passage into practice can be a daunting task. We‘ve lived in three large cities and in large cities, you often see people holding signs that say things like: “Will work for food,” “Need money to feed family,” “Lost job and need help.” Occasionally, here in our mid-sized southwest Indiana town, we see people on busy street corners looking for help.

I don’t know if you are like me, but often I don’t have charitable thoughts when sitting in my comfortable, climate-controlled car. I wonder what these people really will spend the money on—food or something else less healthy?

When we lived in San Antonio, a friend said that she would go buy food at a fast-food place or sandwich shop and give it to the ones she saw standing on the corners. Her thought was that if they wanted food, she’d give them food. I always liked that idea. Give them what they really need if giving money seemed to be a moral dilemma. Now, I have had good intentions of putting that into practice but never have. I’d say things to my kids like, “we should get that man a sandwich and two water bottles, one for him and one for his dog.” But, would I? No.

This summer, my daughter and I went to New York City with some other students and adults from our homeschool co-op. A man came on the subway actually asking for food. People gave him fruit, granola bars, and water bottles. I gave him a granola bar I had in my purse. I found that interesting. He didn’t ask for money, he asked for food. I wonder how many of us would have given him money.

At Christmas-time, we flew in and out of Louisville to go to my sister’s in Phoenix. When we returned, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel to get something to eat before driving two hours home. Sitting on a bench right by the front door was a man asking for some money to get a bite to eat. He looked cold. After we were seated, a family discussion started as to whether we should say something to the manager. I wondered aloud if we should get the man a sandwich. My husband and son wisely came up with the better plan. We asked our waitress for the manager (making sure she knew it wasn’t because we were upset with anything). When the manager came to our table, we told him about the man out front, said we wanted to order him a ham sandwich with fries and have it put on our bill. The manager thanked us. No one else had told him about the man asking for money out front. He’d get him the sandwich and then ask him to leave.

We finally did what Jesus asked us to do. Whether the man was hungry or just wanting money for his next fix, we gave him what was better for him. We all felt good about ending 2011 doing a good deed and living out scriptural principles at the same time. I pray that the food filled the man’s stomach and that he found a warm place to sleep that evening.

Those are my thoughts for today.

  “For 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, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

   “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:35-40

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