Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
“She does that all the time,” the cashier growled. “It was only a couple bucks,” I responded. “I waste more than that on coffee, and if she needs it for groceries to feed that little girl, then call me a sucker.”
I had stopped at a local discount grocery store in search of the best deal I could find on bags of dried beans that I needed for a craft project (we’ll get into the particulars of that crazy undertaking at another time). When I reached the register, the frustrated cashier was awaiting her manager’s arrival. She needed someone to help her void a bunch of bright yellow bananas off of the purchase of the young lady in front of me with a toddler affixed firmly to her side. The girl had found herself at the end of the month, her public assistance exhausted. She was trying to figure out which of her purchases to return so she could gather her groceries and leave the store. The cashier had determined the bananas probably put her over her limit, so together they searched through the little red wagon full of grocerie surrounding the dirty-faced, runny nosed toddler.
I pulled a couple dollars from my wallet and gave them to the cashier. “Are you sure?” the cashier asked, and was immediately echoed by the young lady asking the same question. “Absolutely,” I responded. I couldn’t imagine being in that young lady’s situation. Embarrassed, poor, and being looked at with judging stares by bystanders impatiently waiting for her to move.
Society is really lousy sometimes, isn’t it? We’ve been conditioned to judge everyone for everything. It was ironic that Pastor Matthew recently taught about partiality, particularly since I had started writing this devotional several days prior to hearing that message. I had left it unfinished because of an interruption, determined that I would finish later that day. Four days later, as I sat back down at my computer to finish, I realized how guilty I am of forming biases…ones that may even go as far as being considered “partiality” against certain groups of people. I’ve asked God to forgive me and soften my heart from hardness and biases that may cross the line.
While I was reading my Bible this morning, I read a passage in my commentary that really stuck with me. “We are all significant and valuable to God. None more than the next. Christ died for all people, and at the foot of the cross, we are all equal—we all are sinners in need of a savior.” The verse I quoted in the beginning, Matthew 24:40b, has an awesome modern-day translation in The Message;“Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me - you did it to me.” I did it to Him. Every time I looked down on someone, walked past someone who just needed a smile or a “hello,” or formed an opinion before I really knew the situation, I did it to Him.
My prayer for all of us is that God will soften our hearts and help us be more open to where we can be used for Him in our daily lives. As we work to “Love Well,” let us truly love well.