Amen I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.
It was a weekday evening and I was at Penn station in NY waiting for a train home from a conference. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman holding a styrofoam cup shuffling from person to person. While I couldn't yet hear her, I knew she was asking folks for money.
And she was headed my way...
Now for those of you that do not know Manhattan well - I'll interrupt this story with some background. Like any large city, it has its share of poor people. Very poor people. But it also has its share of people who pretend to be poor to get an easy couple of bucks. Like this guy.
And it is this latter group who have made me wary of wandering beggars. So I tend to donate to places I know help truly poor people, rather than risk getting played like a fool.
Ok, back to the story at hand ...
Not knowing if the oncoming beggar was a phoney or not, I quickly put my headphones in my ears and started looking intently at my phone.
"Sir, do you have any money to spare?"
I ignored her, hoping she would move on to the next person.
"Sir? Sir? I just want to eat tonight..."
I stared even more intently at my phone, as she gave up and moved onto the next person.
Shuffle ... shuffle ... "Ma'am? Can you spare any change?"
Crisis averted. Although anyone watching from afar must have been aghast at the scene they had just witnessed. The iPod I faked listening to, the phone I pretended to tap away on, and the computer strewn over my shoulder, could have paid for this woman's meals for months.
I glanced up for a second to see a woman near me deposit a dollar into the cup.
"Thank you ma'am. Thank you so much. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you. May He always bless you."
With that, the beggar started shuffling away ... probably onto her next "victim". She paused for a moment to turn back and shake her head in my direction.
I saw Jesus right then and there in that woman.
Trust me, as bad as it is to know the Lord is upset with you, it is ten times worse to actually see it.
God Bless you.