Proverbs 21:13 – If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. (NIV)
It was Tuesday night. My wife and I were eating at a local fast-food restaurant. I noticed him when we first entered. He seemed to meander around in no particular direction. Later, I noticed him at a nearby booth choking down a cheeseburger. Then he was gone.
We finished our meal and prepared to leave. After depositing our trash, I returned to find my wife gone. I finally spotted her at the counter with this same gentleman. Then she came back to our booth requesting change. Only later would I learn the full story.
While I was discarding the remains of our feast, he had approached my wife: "Would you buy me a cookie?" My wife is one of the most tender-hearted persons I know, so a simple cookie would not do. She had noticed him choking down the cheeseburger, too. So she offered him a soft drink. "Oh yes, ma'am," was his enthusiastic reply, then, "Thank you." As we pulled out of the parking lot, we noticed him at the booth eagerly enjoying his delicacies.
This incident brought to mind the warning in today's proverb. When we disregard the cries of the poor, we may very well be ignored in our own time of need.
Was he an angel that we entertained unknowingly, as we are reminded in Hebrews 13:2? Had we returned, would he still have been there? Could we have traced his footsteps? Had God so disguised him to test our "kindness reach"? Perhaps we'll never know. What I do know is that we answered a cry for help, and doing so is always proper and commendable.
Prayer: Lord, enable each of us to see the opportunities You send, regardless of how they are disguised. Amen.
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