My family had a busy day, so we decided to go out for dinner. Everyone wanted to eat at a different place, and no one could agree on a restaurant. My husband mentioned a new place, and my oldest daughter quickly said, “No,” she doesn’t like to eat at places she’s not familiar with. My husband stuck to his decision and proceeded to go to this fast food restaurant. Two out of our three children were happy, and I was just happy to be getting out of making dinner!
As we were walking into the restaurant, my children were visiting and laughing, and I was walking slowly behind them, listening to their conversation. I quickly noticed a man sitting outside by himself…with bags all around him…full beard…watching my family. Boy did I keep my eye on him until I walked past him! I looked down acting as if I didn’t even notice him.
Inside the restaurant, we stood in line, and everyone decided what they wanted to eat…adding extra cheese, guacamole, basically ordering whatever we wanted. As we got our food, drinks, napkins, and began to eat, my eyes went to the gentleman outside. He was still sitting at the table outside our window. I watched my children pick through their food and eat, and eat, until they were full. I turned to my husband and said, “Do you think he’s eaten dinner?” Ryan looked at me and said, “I don’t know.” I went up to the cash register and asked the lady behind the counter if the gentlemen outside had eaten dinner. She replied, “No, he has had some water with lemons.” I went back to my husband and told him we should buy him dinner.
Ryan got up and went outside and visited with the gentlemen for some time. All I kept thinking was, WHY DID I NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH HIM? Why did I walk past him like he didn’t matter? Not only did I not say ‘good evening’ or ‘hello,’ but I didn’t even look at him. Ryan came back inside and ordered some food. He came back to our table with a to-go bag…and the kids finished up their dinner as Ryan sat patiently and waited.
At first, I didn’t understand what Ryan was waiting on… I just wanted him to give the gentleman his food. But then, I had a scripture pop into my head…”When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Matthew 6:2-4
I think because I felt bad for not making eye contact with the man, I wanted to make it better by giving something to him. But doing it in front of God wasn’t enough…I wanted to blow my trumpets so others would see the kind thing that we did… Was I wanting to help the gentlemen, or was I wanting to help myself feel better for not even taking the time to look at him?
As we were leaving, Ryan handed the gentleman his food. He asked Ryan, “What made you think I didn’t have dinner?” Ryan simply replied, “The Spirit guided me.” The gentleman smiled and said, “God has a way of doing that.” They visited for some time, and the gentleman had some business ideas that he ran past Ryan. He even told us where he sleeps at night, inviting us to come see him.
I learned so much that night…we had a great conversation in the car with our children. I think what I learned the most is that I still have so much to work on… But the next time I observe a gentleman like this one, I can promise you I will make eye contact and greet him! I’m so thankful for a husband that has such a humble Spirit. Ryan’s humility is contagious. I just hope and pray that next time my thoughts and actions will be different!
Writing this is embarrassing…embarrassing that I acted this way!
Father, please forgive me. Forgive my selfish thoughts, forgive me that I let my flesh lead me, and that I didn’t have a heart like Jesus! I’m so thankful for a God who forgives and continues to love me unconditionally! I pray that this experience will allow me to respond appropriately next time, and that my children will have a heart to help others in need! ~Amen