If you were told that something you did or said today would still have an impact on a life ten years from now, would you pay more attention to all of your interactions? As you went about your day, would you wonder what it is that you’d say or do? Would you go about your day any differently?
We probably all would.
The reality is that what you say or do today does matter. It will affect someone in 10 years. You get to decide how much or how little you’re involved in somebody else’s story.
I saw a video the other day that inspired me. It reminded me of my inadequate efforts to give to others. As much as I love to encourage people with my story and words, I realize there is an unchallenged void in my heart to physically provide to those who are fighting through their struggles in a broken world. I need to be a better giver and that is my goal for 2012 and the years following.
I want to share the short video with you. I hope it has the same impact on you as it did me.
Katie and I had a neat experience yesterday. Before our Christmas trip to San Antonio, we stopped at the Whataburger around the corner from my house to pick up breakfast for the road. The drive-thru had two lines going, which was God’s way of saying our order wasn’t going to come out right. Sure enough, the two sausage taquitos we got were the complete opposite of what we wanted. Luckily, we weren’t out of the parking lot when we noticed it.
I took the bag inside and explained the situation. A few minutes later, Katie walked in and asked if we could eat inside rather than trying to eat (which would inevitably turn into a circus act) on the road.
Five minutes later, the cashier handed me a new bag with double the amount we originally ordered. I was excited.
As I pulled out my two biscuits and lined them out in front of me like the fatty that I am, Katie left her second taquito in the bag. I had no idea how I would eat two biscuits and Katie’s extra taquito, but I began planning for an extra meal on our four-and-a-half hour road trip.
Meanwhile, there were a few other people dining inside of the restaurant. Out of the seven or eight people in the lobby, one caught my eye. He was a middle-aged Asian man who had a disheveled appearance. His coat was unclean and his hands were noticeably dirty. It wasn’t safe to assume he was homeless, however. He sat against the wall and I faced him. There was occasional eye contact. In front of him sat a Whataburger, the only real indication that he was a patron. I wondered if he had eaten, or if he sat with the hope that he would.
I was midway through my first biscuit when I noticed that Katie sat in a daze. I could tell something was wrong.
“What’s wrong?” I asked
I wish I could give this taquito away to someone who needs it.
Wait, I had plans for it already, I thought. She could give it to me. I need it!
I quickly realized how selfish I was. I didn’t need Katie’s extra taquito. Her selflessness brought that to my attention. Her generosity aligned my thoughts andI began to feel the same way. I began to wish there was someone we could give her extra taquito to. Then I stared down at my extra biscuit. My comfort zone started to shrink. Oh no.
I thought about our road trip, wondering if we would run into somebody at an intersection as we left town.
“We might see someone and that we could take the extra food with us,” I suggested.
I was partially resigned to include my extra food, but not yet fully committed.
“There’s a guy in here who looks like he may be homeless. Maybe we could give it to him,” I said.
“Yeah, I saw him,” Katie said. “I was thinking the same thing.”
For the next five minutes, we talked about how awkward it would be approach this man about our extra food. We didn’t want to humiliate him by suggesting he was homeless or that he needed food.
I watched as he took his empty cup to the front. An employee asked if he wanted more coffee and he shook his head yes. When he sat down, I approached the employee.
“Excuse me ma’am, has he ordered any food today?”
“No, not today,” she replied.
“Do you know if he is homeless?”
“Yes, he is.”
I walked over and told him that we had some extra breakfast we wanted to give away and asked if he wanted it. He shook his head yes and I gave him the bag.
It was awesome to be at the right place at the right time. I’m so thankful that Katie has such a generous spirit. It was a reminder that I can do more to help others.
Everything could have been different yesterday morning. Our order could have been correct and we would have been on our way to San Antonio. Katie could have not come inside. The homeless guy could have not been inside of Whataburger at 10 ‘o clock in the morning. However, the opposite was true. Our order was wrong, we went inside, received extra food, and noticed a man who looked like he was waiting for…something.
The things that you do or say today will impact the lives of others years from now. Encourage yourself daily to pay attention to those things. This is how we see God work in our lives.
“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important that clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single day to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27