We often forget that Christ admonished us to treat the least of our brothers as though they were Jesus himself. He clearly indicated that He keeps track of the little things like feeding and clothing those in need.
For years I’ve seen evidence of this in my own life, good people going out of their way to do things for the people with not enough. I work with several groups that work to help in a systematic way. Often it’s providing a hot meal every two weeks, clothing drives, or perhaps a warm bed in the mission when the winter sets in around here.
But this story needs to be told, for I firmly believe Jesus was there that morning. Some might consider it blasphemous, but I think Jesus wears a $2000.00 suit. And He eats at Mickey’s Diner.
Does not Christ manifest Himself in us if we are Christians? Do we not become a part of Him if we follow His edicts and do as He showed us? Are we not “The Body of Christ” when the church reaches out? I think so.
And this story puts me in the mind that He reached out that morning a month ago. I have this story from one of the long-time employees there. One of my regular breakfast mates, who shall be called “Tim” for purposes of anonymity, is not someone you’d ever see on Meet The Press. He’s disheveled, dirty, ungroomed, inarticulate, and quite possibly a little off in some ways. But he’s a cordial person to be around, he’s apparently harmless, and he’s always polite.
On that morning, Tim was at the counter and the only seat open was right next to him. A man, young, expensively dressed and evidently well to do came in and looked for a seat. He was standing there when the waitress pointed at the seat next to Tim and said that’s your only option. He plopped down, gave Tim a funny look and then ordered his breakfast. He was evidently paying attention to Tim talking quietly to himself and nursing a cup of coffee. Tim went out the door after a bit and the man asked the waitress about him.
After being told that he was a regular who came in to get warm when the shelter kicked everyone out in the morning, the man in the $2000 suit asked a bunch of questions about the street people in the area. The waitress filled him in on the details and the man pondered it for a few minutes.
Before he left, he paid his tab and handed a $100 bill to the waitress. “Please feed Tim when he’s here and hungry. I’m in here often enough that when that runs out you can just let me know. But take care of him.”
That’s all he said. He didn’t contact his P.R. firm. He didn’t call the newspaper. He didn’t announce to the diner what he’d done. He just pulled out the cash and put it down for a brother in hard times. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus wants us to do? I think it is precisely what the Bible tells us to do.
I’d like to challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and do something like that this week. Hopefully today. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Don’t give the money directly to the street person, too much danger there. You could be robbed, they could be robbed, it could be gone in an hour in a trip to the liquor store. But if you really want to help, make sure that you pony up for the mission drive, buy a meal for one of them that’s at the counter next to you, cover their coffee at the convenience store, do something that directly reflects your love of Jesus and your fellow man.
And remember that Jesus sometimes wears a pinstripe suit and eats at the diner.