Change for a Dollar

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 will matter. It will affect someone in ten years. You may never realize it until it’s revealed to you, but we are all serving a purpose. It’s your choice as to how much or how little you’re engaged in your own story, and most importantly, the story of others.

I saw a video the other day that inspired me. It reminded me of my own inadequate efforts to give to others. As much as I love to encourage others with my story and words, I realize there is an unchallenged void in my heart to physically provide to those who are fighting through the struggles of a broken world. I need to be a better giver and that is my goal for 2012 and the years following. As for right now, 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 a clear indication that our order was going to be messed up. 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 instead of turning our meal into some sort of circus act on the road.

After five minutes of waiting, I was handed a new bag which had more food in it than what we originally wanted. It turns out that they gave us double of what we ordered. Ok, let’s be realistic, I was excited. Katie was the practical one here. As I pulled out my two biscuits and lined them out in front of me like the fatty that I am, Katie left her other taquito in the bag. I had no idea how I would eat two biscuits and Katie’s extra taquito, but I figured the road trip we were about to take would be my biggest ally in that quest.

Meanwhile, there were a few other people dining inside of the restaurant. Out of the seven or eight people in the lobby, one person caught my eye. He was an older, Asian gentleman who was borderline unkempt. He had an unclean coat and dirty hands, but it wasn’t safe to assume that he was homeless. He sat against the wall and I was facing him, so there was occasional eye contact. The Whataburger cup in front of him was the only real indication that he belonged inside. I wondered if he had eaten, or if he was inside with the hope that he would.

Midway through my first biscuit, Katie sat in a daze. I could tell something was the matter so I asked her what was wrong. She said that she wished she could give her extra taquito away to someone who needed it.

Wait, I had plans for it already. She could give it to me!

I quickly realized how selfish I was to not think of other people first. I didn’t need Katie’s extra taquito, and her selfless desire brought that to my attention. I immediately felt the same way that she did. I suddenly wished there was someone we could give her extra taquito to. A few seconds later, my comfort zone grew uncomfortable as I stared down at my extra biscuit. Oh no.

I started thinking about our road trip. I wondered if we would run into somebody at an intersection as we left town. I told her we might see someone and that we could take the extra food with us. By this time, I was partially resigned to include my extra food, but not yet fully committed. I kept thinking of who we could serve.

“There’s a guy in here who looks like he may be homeless. Maybe we could give it to him,” I suggested.
“Yeah, I saw him,” said Katie, “I was thinking the same thing.”

For the next five minutes, we talked about the awkwardness of trying to find out if he was homeless. We went through every scenario, with neither one of us wanting to approach the fear of assuming he was homeless and needing food if he was not and didn’t. We didn’t want to humiliate anybody. I saw the man get up with his cup and take it to the front. An employee asked if he wanted more coffee and he shook his head yes as he handed over his cup. I had the bag ready to go and as he went to sit back down, I approached the employee that had given him more coffee.

“Excuse me ma’am, has he eaten today,” I asked.
“No, not today,” she replied.
“Do you know if he is homeless?”
“Yes, he is.”

I walked over to the gentleman and told him that we had some extra breakfast that we were wanting to give away. I asked him if he wanted it. He shook his head yes and I gave him the bag. It was so awesome to be in a place where we could help someone. And I’m so thankful that Katie has such a giving spirit. It was a reminder that I can do more, that instead of thinking about how getting more will benefit me, I need to think about how getting more will benefit others in my life.

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 and I would have taken our extra food on the road. 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, which lead us inside. We received extra food, which wasn’t asked for. We noticed a man who needed food that we were given. And all of this happened because we decided to stop at this particular place at this particular time. The things that you do or say today will impact the lives of others ten 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

  • Micaela

    Justin this touched my heart. I had a similar experience during christmas shopping. There was a homeless guy holding a sign at this intersection and I kept thinking of all of us (me included) in our warm cars about to drop money on christmas gifts and was sad nobody was giving- tis the season for it right? I never carry cash but I happened to have a few bucks on me and I felt like it was a sign to be able to give. And you know what? It felt good to be able to do that for someone who needs it more than me. you'll love what his sign said (i did)… "anything helps, even just a smile." It made me smile :) and reminded me that we should not always give if we are blessed to but always strive to be kind.

  • Stephanie

    Beautiful.