Tonight I was walking from the train to the gym. Typical...beat everyone off the train so you don't have to negotiate the crowd on the sidewalk. Ahhh...aren't you smart? Smoothly glide over the sidewalk anomaly in front of Busters...you player you...walk past the random homeless guy and turn the corner to the gym, so that you can get your back just a little str...
There's a grizzled old-timer on the side street in a doorway. He's not in the middle of the street, he's not getting in your face or heckling the rich suits as they parade by. He's just standing there. Out of your way, but there enough to be seen. He's an older white guy, holds an old, tattered baseball cap, upside down, in his hand, accepting your change. You walk by, but you start thinking...
You start to pray for him, but he's 20 steps behind you now. Did you do anything? You think of your father.
Last time Dad was in town, you went to see the Empire State Building, instead of going to work that day. It was a good day, and you had a good time. You loved your father the way you wish you always could and you both had a good time going to the (now) highest point in NYC. You had a good time standing in line for tickets you realized you could have bought on-line. When you got upstairs you ran into staffers for a major Republican congressional figure who were scouting for a campaign benefit venue.
But on the way there, earlier, when you got off the PATH train from Jersey, you instinctively took the underground walkway towards 34th street. You passed the older black gentleman who's there on occasion, silently asking for help. Dad gave him a couple dollars.
Your whole paradigm shifts, all in one second.
You've never seen Dad give a homeless person cash, directly. You grew up in a suburban area, Dad worked in the capital of the 5th largest economy in the world, and even then, you never saw him take this attitude towards them. He, and therefore the family, always took the attitude that it was the church's responsibility to assist the poor. You pause, noticeably.
"As I get older, I notice the old ones more. The ones who maybe don't have a shot at getting another job. The ones who maybe really need it."
Dad just gave a grizzled old homeless black guy some change.
You keep walking to the gym, force of habit, but the grizzled old guy is still there.
You start praying. You pray through your workout, and by the end of it, you're determined.
You leave the gym, and you walk back towards the train, instead of the opposite direction, towards home. You round the same corner, in the opposite direction...
But he's gone. Vanished, into the night. You circle the block, but he's not there. You can't ask him if he's hungry. You can't invite him across the street, to get a piece of pizza and get his story. He's gone.
Matt. 25:35 has passed you again.