The scene could have been any major city in the world. Outside, between a McDonalds and a coffee shop specializing in eastern Mediterranean sweets, was a huddle man with a sign asking for food. I was on my way to get a morning coffee when a sense of needing to do something came over me. I had seen him on prior mornings, accepting gifts people working in the office buildings across the street like myself. Their contents spanned the range of McDonalds’ breakfast options. In each case his response was gracious and filled with genuine appreciation.
I don’t do McDonalds. As I ordered I looked at the options and something clicked. Given it was late morning something between breakfast and lunch was in order! What could be better than warm fresh falafels stuffed in pita bread with tomatoes, lettuce, and a special sauce? In my enthusiasm I imagined how excited he would be to get something healthy for a change! Wasn’t this going to be great?
As I walked out I discreetly handed the white paper bag to the man with the sign. His puzzled tone of appreciation was followed by an extended period of silence punctuated by the sound of a paper sack unfolding. By this time I was across the streets and heading up the steps into the building where I worked. As I entered the scream echoed, “Whaaaat is this?” followed by a series of expletives not worthy of mention. It seemed my gift had more links than I expected.
Jesus reminded us of the links that come with mercy, compassion, and living them out in reality. “If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world's terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God's terms and no longer on the world's terms, the world is going to hate you.” (John 15.17, 18)
Life is about choice. Making the right one comes with a price. It’s well worth everything.
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