Faith Stories: Choosing Kindness
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression … and spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise [and shine] in the darkness … then you will find your joy in the Lord.” (Isaiah 58:10&14)
His hands were so dirty and his clothes were soiled. He had come for food; I had come to serve in the pantry. He was hungry and beat down. He wouldn’t even look me in the eye. He spoke very softly; he was obviously uncomfortable.
As I sat with him, doing the necessary paperwork and letting him drink some coffee and eat a few snacks, I watched his hands … and I listened.
He told me about his three children. He told me that he was homeless. He told me of a harrowing experience on his bike that scared him and left him injured. And he told me that he did not want to go to the shelter downtown. I only mentioned the shelter because he said that he needed $7 so that he could pick up a prescription. I knew that he could get assistance at the shelter downtown. But I also somehow knew that he wouldn’t go.
He said that he really liked coming to the Shepherd’s Market. He appreciates the company, the coffee, the snacks, a place to sit and the food. He especially likes picking a treat for his kids, just in case he gets to see them.
As I watched him eat a second plate of snacks with his dirty hands, I made a decision that I should try to do this man a small favor … a random act of kindness. I found my wallet and looked inside. I had exactly $7 in cash. Amazing coincidence? I don’t think so.
I quietly gave the man the cash so he could buy his medicine. And then it happened: he gave me a gift, too.
He looked me in the eye, with tears in his eyes, and smiled. He touched my hand with his hands and said, “God bless you.”
It’s funny how I no longer noticed the dirt on his hands. I chose to be kind in that moment and God demonstrated His love through a simple healing touch, bringing me great joy.
Prayer: Help me, Lord, to see the needs of those around me. Let me spread kind words and show your love through deeds of kindness for those who need your healing touch. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.