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"I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!" Matthew 25:40 (NLT)

He pushed a buggy and always appeared in a hurry.

“I hate to throw away all those leftovers,” my wife said as we sat at the supper table.

Cooking for two people is challenging, and she had prepared too much for our New Year’s meal. We had eaten leftovers twice and still had more to consume.

“What would be wrong with me warming the leftovers for the homeless man down the street?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I replied, seeing her big heart explode with moisture in her eyes.

Recently, two homeless men had moved into our area. One stayed in a small shack by a local business. So, my wife warmed up the leftovers and placed them in several to-go plates. We pulled up to his shack and told him we had food for him. His response puzzled us.

“You can take it and give it to your dogs,” he muttered as he shook his head back and forth.

“But, it’s home-cooked food,” my wife protested.

Her pleading accomplished nothing. He became more irritated and made more demeaning remarks. He wanted money to buy his own food, but would not take our food. Perhaps he was mentally challenged. Perhaps he feared we were trying to poison him.

“Just leave,” I finally told my wife. And we did as he continued to rant and rave at us.

Jesus lists the thirsty, hungry, prisoners, naked, strangers and sick among those we should serve in His name, but He never said our efforts would be easy, convenient, or always accepted with warmth and appreciation.

Having this encounter could have made it easy for me to stereotype all homeless people. Instead, I prayed for him that night, asking God to soften his heart towards people who try to help him. And when God prompts us, my wife and I will help again.

God judges my motives, not the people’s response whom I try to assist. He holds me accountable for doing the right thing, whether others appreciate it or not. And doing the right thing always feels right because it is the right thing to do. God’s love cannot be contained in a body. It must flow to others as God designed it to.

Don’t let fear, inconvenience, or bad experiences keep you from spreading God’s love.

Martin Wiles is managing editor of Christian Devotions, assistant editor of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and author of Grits & Grace & God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. His work is featured at


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