By Aaron Elder
I lied to him. As I filled my car with gas, a man approached me as he had the others at the pump. Respectfully he asked, “You got any spare change for a cup of coffee?” His clothes, his unshaven face and his two visible teeth suggested he was homeless. I said to him, “No, I’m sorry man,” trying to convey as much compassion as one can muster while lying to a man’s face about not having one dollar.
As the man picked up his backpack and walked away, I began to justify myself, “he’s creating a nuisance for the business owner anyway” and “there’s plenty of resources available to him.” I finished filling my car and I drove to work, wrestling with what I had just done to my fellow man. I have been praying for God to change my disposition toward those different from me, and opportunity showed me I still have far to go.
For much of the day, I wondered about this man and his story. Did he really need (or want) that cup of coffee? Maybe. Maybe what he really wanted was someone to care. Maybe some faith in humanity could be restored. Maybe God is real. Maybe it is true that God hasn’t forgotten me. Maybe I can continue to hope for a better future.
Likely, I will forget this man as I go about my life. I know when I read verse 18 that at the end of all things God really will remember the needy and afflicted and I know that the saints will give thanks with all their hearts and tell of his wondrous deeds. I do know that God will set all things right. But is it enough for me to praise God for what will be and not act today? Maybe not. What if the way in which God desires to show his faithfulness and love to the needy is through his body – the church? It just may be.