I suppose everyone has, at one time or another, missed
an opportunity to do a good thing, and has lived to regret it. Our pastor, in a sermon recently, was talking of helping others,
and told of an instance of long ago that continues to haunt him. I’ve had a similar one.
My failing was that I was with another person, in his vehicle, and it prevented my doing what I should have
done. At least that’s my excuse. We were standing at an outdoor hamburger place, waiting for our order, when a young
man came up and said he had just been fired from a children’s carnival that was visiting in our town, and could we direct
him to the police station. I assumed that he was going to ask them for help in getting back home, wherever that was.
Well, in a small town, if you’re like me, you don’t really know the names of streets. You don’t
need to. And so I stuttered, trying to count in my mind how many blocks he should go east before turning north, and finally
he went on his way.
How many times since then, have I wondered about him. Why
didn’t I offer to buy him a sandwich and cola before he left not knowing his next move. I don’t carry my cell
phone; I keep it in my own car, and the person I was with made no offer to let him use his (he was from Kansas City and later
said he wouldn’t hand his phone to a stranger who might take it and run). And so along with my being so taken by surprise
by the young man, he sweating in the heat and doubly uncomfortable for losing his job, whatever the reason…I acted
like a schoolboy and did almost nothing for him.
How many times have I wondered
what happened to him. How many times have I prayed that he got home, got a job and a family and gave his heart to the one
I am supposed to be serving! I know the feeling of those who God has forgiven, but they can’t forgive themselves! Dear
hearts…don’t miss an opportunity to give a helping hand when it’s possible. Christ said that even giving
a cup of cold water in His name is remembered (Matthew 10:42).