There was this man who was homeless and would spend his days sitting in the subway station with a cup asking anyone who would help him for change. Each day this young woman would pass by in her expensive suit, expensive tennis shoes (her expensive heels were in her expensive bag), while talking on her expensive cell phone and although she passed the same way every morning and every evening, looking him in his eyes, she never would place even a penny in his cup. After a month or so, this man got up the courage to say, “Excuse me ma’am, can you spare some change?” Yet she looked at him, again in his eyes, but never mumbled a word. Late one evening, the man was again in the same spot in the almost empty subway when he saw the young lady pass by but this time he noticed a suspicious looking man following behind her so when she got ready to pass by he grabbed her arm. She became furious raising her voice asking him why he would put his dirty hands on her $300 suit. She kept ranting and raving saying I don’t know you and for you to touch me, you must want me to scream for the police. Finally after a few minutes, he let her go. She said, “The nerve of you to grab me like that, who do you think you are? I can’t believe you just did that!” Finally able to speak, he said, “Ma’am, please excuse me for grabbing on you but..,” she interrupted, “But what? What gives you the right or the authority to put your hands on me?” He said, “Ma’am, if you would let me explain. I grabbed you because there was a man walking closely behind you with a knife and he was about to snatch you and your bag and the only way I could stop it was to grab you. My apologies ma’am, I won’t ever touch you again.” She slowly stepped back to regain her composure because she couldn’t believe someone, a stranger who she avoided like the plague, would risk his life to save hers. Tears started to swell in her eyes and although her mouth was open, no words were present. He stood there just to make sure she was alright and when he started to leave, she placed her hand on his arm to stop him. With the tears now streaming down her face, she said, “Day after day I walk past judging you because of the way you look without even knowing your story or putting money in your cup even though I have it to spare. I never take the time to offer you a cup of coffee or the sandwich in my bag because I think I’m better than you and wouldn’t ever be in your shoes but who am I? You risked your life to save mine after the months that I’ve ignored you, never speaking or even asking your name. Why would you do that?” He replied, “I’m just paying it forward. See, I didn’t ask to be in the situation that I’m in but when I got sick with cancer I lost my job then I lost my apartment and all my so-called friends but I never lost God. Even in the midst of my begging for change in this subway, God healed my body. Even in the midst of you and others ignoring my pleas for help, God never allows me to be hungry. Even when folks judge me without knowing my story, God never allows me to be cold while I’m sleeping outside. Even when I don’t know how to make it, God does and because God never forgets about me, the least I can do is be true to his word which says in Hebrews 13:16 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” I’m simply doing what God will have me to do.”
Isn’t that something? Now, this was part of a devotional I wrote on 3/6/12 entitled “Pay it forward,” and although I had every intention on writing something different God’s plan is so much better. See, many times we get so caught up in the hype that we allow ourselves to become higher than others because we’ve forgotten how we got there yet God is still there waiting. Who are you to judge someone? Who are you to look down your nose at others? Don’t you put your pants, shirt, dress or suit on the same way they do? If I cut you, won’t you bleed red blood? Doesn’t your heart beat like mine? Don’t you hurt like me? Can’t you fall just as surely as I can? Oh, ok! I’m just asking. This may not be for you but someone needed to be reminded that it could be you and it could be worse.