Monday, November 28, 2011

A Second Chance on a Sin of Omission

About one week ago I was getting groceries at Aldi.  Money is tight.  I was keeping the tab running in my head and decided that I had all that we needed and it was time to check out.  Behind me in line was a man with a couple of empty containers waiting to get deposit money.  I let him go ahead of me and noticed his nearly bare feet in the chilly weather.  He then attempted to get twice the money out of the cashier, but she was wise and loudly called him out on it.  He was embarrassed, but resigned to this method of meeting his needs.

Out in the parking lot I felt a prompt to go and give him a dollar.  I ignored it saying to myself, "No, the employees have their hands full already; they don't need me encouraging troublemakers to hang around."  I felt a pang, but drove away.  The thought of this man came to me later in the day.  Then again the next day, and the next.  Finally, after reading Jesus' words about seeing Him in the least and the lowest, I realized He was trying to say something to me.  In the middle of the affluent suburb I was shopping in, this poor man was not merely looked upon as unfortunate, but possibly dangerous.  I repented and asked God for another chance, thinking it would be with a different person.

Later that same day, I went to that same Aldi and that same man was behind me in that same line with two more empty containers.  I let him ahead of me again.  Noted the nearly bare feet again.  Listened to the irritated cashier tolerate him again.  I knew what I was going to do this time, but OH NO, I realized I had no cash on me!!  I would have to give him a handful of change.  Ok, so it's a lesson in humility for me, too.  Then after I checked out, I noticed an error on the bill and the cashier has to give me a five dollar bill back.  Whoa.  Now all the cash I have is a five dollar bill.  I wanted to be generous, but that's a big chunk of my food budget.  Then I remember it all comes from God to begin with, and He can never be outdone in generosity!

The man put down his little plastic container-collecting bag before heading into the washroom.  Perfect.  God's timing and ordering of our days is always PERFECT!  I dropped the five in his bag and went on my way without anyone noticing a thing.  In the parking lot I noticed the man checking through the garbage cans, looking for more containers to turn in.  I imagined him experiencing a little bit of relief when he saw the bill at the bottom of his bag.  I know, it may be that he will use the money for something that is not good for him.  But then again, maybe he will just buy some food.  All I know is that God gave me another chance to see Jesus in this man and even provided a way for me to bless him.  Now I can pray for him, and maybe even start a conversation with him next to we meet at Aldi.  God's will be done.

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