The Homeless Man and the Scone
10 a.m. Left my house and headed for Starbucks in West Grove.
10:20 a.m. I sit down to read “A Wideness in God’s Mercy” by Clark Pinnock for a class at seminary with a strawberry smoothie by my side.
11:15 a.m. Have the astute idea that it’s nicer outside than it is inside, so I move to the outdoors to enjoy the pleasant 78 degrees.
12 noon. Have another astute idea that my seat in my car is more comfortable than the metal chair I’m presently occupying.
12:45 p.m. Notice a random person emerging from the wooded area across the street. As the person comes closer, he crosses the street and sets himself down at the corner of the busiest red light on the strip.
1:00 p.m. Random person now rummaging through his backpack, pulls out a sign that reads “HOMELESS.” Random person now identified as “homeless.” Obviously looking for some free handouts.
1:15 p.m. A number of thoughts roll through my mind:
If he’s smart enough to stand at the busiest intersection, with a well-designed sign, he should be smart enough to hold a job?
Maybe he’s an ex-convict and can’t get a job.
I wonder how often he eats.
Everybody’s driving by him, nobody’s stopping, I wonder how that makes him feel?
Maybe he has a drug addiction and can’t hold a job.
In a different life, that could be me.
Ohh … he’s sitting down … too tired to stand.
Maybe he’s too lazy to hold a job.
Better get back to my book … my report’s due on Friday.
Look at all those expensive cars. I bet all these people are strapped for cash. I mean, I NEVER carry cash.
I wonder if he has any idea the economy’s in a recession.
2:00 p.m. I’m starting to get tired, so I move out of my confortable driver seat and back to the metal chair, just in time to redeem my “after 2 p.m., any iced drink just $2” coupon.
2:30 p.m. Realize that I don’t like iced mochas.
3:45 p.m. I finish the Pinnock book, pack up my stuff, head to my car and notice the homeless man holding his position at the corner of the red light. I decide to buy him some food … since I don’t have any cash.
3:50 p.m. Walk up to the cashier, not sure what the homeless man would enjoy. I remind myself that I’m on a tight budget since the whole adoption process has us strapped. Can’t *afford* the freakin five dollar sandwich, so I settle on a scone.
“I’ll have the blueberry scone” I tell the cashier. That’s what I’d want if I were homeless, I think to myself.
“We’re all out of the blueberry.”
“Okay, what’s that kind?”
“Cinnamon and cranberry.”
“Okay, I’ll have that.”
“$2.75. Do you want your receipt?”
4:00 p.m. I drive up to the red light that’s currently green with some jerk hole on my tail, and quickly hand the scone off to the homeless guy like a baton in relay race. I say, “It’s a scone.” He says, “Thanks, brother. God bless.” I drive away, thinking to myself, “A scone isn’t very healthy … should have got him some fruit.”
Why’s it so hard to do something good?
This is how the story should be told:
1:00 p.m.: Random person now rummaging through his backpack, pulls out a sign that reads “HOMELESS.” Random person now identified as “homeless.”
1:05 p.m.: I get out of my car, walk to the homeless person, introducing myself to him. He introduces himself as “___Insert name I would have known had I actually approached him______”. I invite him to share lunch with me at Starbucks ….
But, I’m afraid, the rest of that story can’t be told — as exciting as it might have been — because I was too involved in looking/judging at the man while I was reading “A Wideness in God’s Mercy” for my seminary class.
I was so intent on learning about Jesus that I forgot to act like him. Or, maybe it’s just easier to learn about Him than it is to act like Him. Maybe orthodoxy is just easier than orthopraxy.