Blog #27- Jesus in Disguise
I’ve had a friend for a couple of years now. What’s funny is we really don’t know each other. But let me introduce you to him anyway.
During the week I often ride my bike (Blog #13). I have a certain route which takes me down a sidewalk adjacent to a retirement center. I am fairly certain my friend is a resident there since that is where I usually find him. More often than not, he is donned in pajamas and slippers, shuffling down the sidewalk, having a conversation with himself.
I saw him faithfully walking for weeks before I spoke to him. Initially, I don’t remember why I did it. Some bikers/walkers/runners say hi to everyone on their morning route, but I'm generally not of that variety. I'm a responder, not an initiator when I exercise. But for some reason, that day, I looked him in the eye and said, “Good morning!”
Now keep in mind this exchange happened quickly. I didn’t stop my bike. I just wished him well while passing him on his left. But in that precious moment something happened. His face lit up like a lightbulb and he said, “Hello!”
I caught him in mid conversation with himself, but the instant I greeted him he switched gears, smiled and returned the sentiment. And then promptly resumed his discussion. All the while never making eye contact with me. In fact, he has never made eye contact with me. He heartily responds to my morning salutations while simultaneously looking in a different direction.
Now, my bike route consists of going down a long sidewalk, only to reach a point and turn right around. So, when I see him, I see him (and greet him) twice. Going and coming back. And even though my greetings are only a few minutes apart, he always acts as if it was the first time ever. And that I was a long, lost friend. The best way to describe it is a surprised sort of happiness.
There is something special about him. I can’t put my finger on it. I get so tickled when I see him in the distance. It makes me wonder how many people actually greet him during the day. I hope others do. Otherwise they’re missing out on the best smile ever.
Once Jesus was teaching a crowd, explaining to them how their actions truly reflect their faith. Here’s what He said:
“For I [Jesus] was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink… Then they will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:35-40
I haven’t fed my friend or quenched his thirst. All I have given him is a morning greeting. But I know that greeting is a form of dignity. A simple gesture that lets him know, I see you and you matter. As a result, we have grown to be good friends. At least I think we have. He may not be able to pick me out of a crowd of three, but I bet he would light up if he heard my voice.
I know I would if I heard his.
Is this Jesus in disguise, strolling my neighborhood sidewalk? Who knows? I won’t be disappointed if he’s not. But if he is, I will totally say, “I knew it!” when I get to Heaven. In the meantime, I will keep sending my good mornings his way.
Who are the least of these in your life right now? Treat that person like royalty, because you never know… he/she might be one!
Look to extend a kind gesture today. You will be glad you did, and you just might see Jesus in the process.
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