"Good Morning" said a woman as she walked up to an old man, sitting alone on a city bench. The man slowly looked up at her.
This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things in life. Her coat was new... her makeup perfect and she looked like she never missed a meal in her life.
The man's first thoughts were that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others who passed by. "Leave me alone," he growled. To his amazement, the woman continued standing.
She was smiling, her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. "Are you hungry?" she asked the man.
"No," he answered sarcastically. "I've just come from dining with the president. Now go away!" The woman's smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm... he hadn't felt anyone touch him in a long time.
"What are you doing, lady?" the man asked angrily. "I said leave me alone!" Just then a police officer came up. "Is there any problem, ma'am? he asked? "No problem here, officer," the woman answered. "I'm just trying to get this man to his feet. Perhaps, you will help me?"
The officer scratched his head. "This is old Jack. He's been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?"
"See that cafeteria over there?" she asked. "I'm going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for a while."
"Are you crazy, lady?" the homeless man resisted. "I don't want to go in there!" Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. "Let me go, officer. I didn't do anything!"
"This is a good deal for you, Jack" the officer answered. "Don't blow it..." Then, with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived.
The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table. "What's going on here, officer?" he asked. "What is all this, is this man in trouble?"
"This lady brought this man in here to be fed," the police officer answered.
"Not in here!" the manager replied angrily. "Having a person like that in here is bad for my business!" Old Jack smiled a toothless grin, "See, lady, I told you so! Now if you will let me go, I didn't want to come in here in the first place!"
The woman calmly turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled. "Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?" "Well of course I am," the manager answered impatiently. "They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms."
"And... do you make a goodly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?" she asked. "What business is that of yours?" the manager replied.
"Well, I, my good sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company. "Oh," the manager said sheepishly. The woman smiled again. "I thought that might make a difference." She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle. "Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?" she asked.
"No thanks, ma'am." the officer replied. "I am still on duty." "Then perhaps a cup of coffee to go?" "Well, yes ma'am, that would be very nice!"
The cafeteria manager turned on his heel, "I'll get your coffee right away, officer. The officer watched him walk away. "You certainly put him in his place." he said.
"That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this." the woman stated. She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently. "Jack, look at me. Do you remember me?" Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes. "I think so -- I mean you do look familiar."
"I'm a little older perhaps," she said. "Maybe I've even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here and I came through that very door, cold and hungry."
"Ma'am?" the officer said questioningly. He couldn't believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry. "I was just out of college," the woman began. "I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn't find anything. Finally, I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days, it was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat."
Jack lit up with a smile. "Now, I remember you..." he said. "I was behind the serving counter. "You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy."
"I know." the woman continued. "Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over and I saw you put the price of my food in the cash register. I knew then that everything would be al-right!"
"So you started your own business?" Old Jack said. "I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up and eventually I started my own business that... with the help of God prospered."
She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. "When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He's the personnel director of my company. I'll go talk to him now and I'm certain he'll find something for you to do around the office." She smiled. "I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet. If you ever need anything... my door is always opened to you!"
There were tears in the old man's eyes. "How can I ever thank you?" he said. "Don't thank me, " the woman replied. "To God goes ALL the Glory, All the praise and All the honor. Thank Jesus... He led me to you!"
Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways. "Thank you for all your help, officer," she said.
"On the contrary, Ms. Eddy." he answered. "Thank you! I saw a miracle today, something I will never forget. And... thank you for the coffee."
Loving the "lovely and popular" is an easy thing to do. However, how do we react to those who are "unsightly and undistinguished?"
A simple rule of thumb for our behavior towards others, asks the question: What would we like people to do for us; and then we eagerly need to go and do just that!
I might add, expect nothing in return. Ignore the thoughts that lead you to give, because you hope to get something back, for certainly this is not charity!
When we go a little further to Luke 6:38 , we read: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Old Jack and Ms. Eddy set the precedent for just that verse. Old Jack gave and it came back to him tenfold, not only in his tangible needs, but in his immaterial, mental and spiritual needs. Only God knows the faith, joy, peace and love that was restored to Jack.
REMEMBER: God closes doors than no man can open... and God opens doors that no man can close!