That’s right. It is isn’t it? We’ve all witnessed it in one form or another. You’ll be standing in line waiting for a table to clear at a restaurant, you’re next on the list, and you can almost taste the perfectly seasoned steak and loaded baked potato. You watch the bus boy wipe the crumbs from the previous patrons and you take a step toward the hostess, positioning yourself for her to lead you to your seat. The restaurant door opens behind you and a very well dressed man and woman push their way past you. The hostess looks up and says how happy she is to see them and proceeds to escort them to YOUR table.
Aside from the restaurant incidents I’m sure you’ve all witnessed someone stating that they were able to get a job, car repairs, discounts, free movie tickets, etc; based on a friend or even a friend of a friend. Yep, a lot rides on the circle of friends you keep and even the circle of friends they keep.
I’ve never been the kind of person that was awe-struck by celebrity or social status. I certainly have respect for people’s intelligence and hard work, don’t get me wrong. But too often we look at people and judge them based on finance or social status and not in who they are as a person or what they do to make a contribution to society.
Let me tell you who had me totally awe-struck this week. My son, Austin. Yep; 17, broke, certainly not an all A student, and someone that totally drives me crazy at times. But not this week. This week that kid had me awe-struck.
Austin works as a bagger at our local grocery store. The baggers take turns going out into the parking lot and bringing the stray carts back into the store. As he headed out to the parking lot he noticed a local homeless man sitting on the curb, eating the food he had just purchased; a two liter of cola and an individual apple pie. There were five kids standing around the homeless man. One of the boys said, “It looks like you need something to eat” and spit his gum out on the man. The man just hung his head.
In walks the hero of the story. My kid. He walked up to the boys and told them to get out of there and that he’d call the cops if they didn’t leave the man alone and that he wasn’t messing around. The boys laughed and said they didn’t think Austin would do anything at all. So he did that male posturing thing you see guys do when they set their shoulders back and stand tall and then he made a few steps toward the boys. They said they were just messing around and left. He then walked over to the homeless man and asked him if he was ok.
Then four ninja’s in dark clothing jumped out of the bushes so Austin whipped out his nun-chucks and…… sorry – that’s Austin adding to the story. But back to the real story…..
As I said, the five boys left. Austin told the homeless man that if they came back and started to bother him again that he was to go into the store and walk up to the service desk and ask for “Austin”. Then they’d call the police if needed. The man was very grateful for my kid’s kindness to him.
See, that’s the kind of thing that impresses me. Not a flashy car or a purse with the initials “LV”. A beautiful house in an upscale neighborhood is great, and I’m happy for you if you’ve been able to acquire those things. But what makes me look at you in admiration is who you are in your heart. Your behavior, your treatment of others, and the things in life you pursue and hold in high esteem is what shows me who you really are.
When we all stand before God one day He isn’t going to ask what we did for a living or what kind of car we had or what that figure was on our W2’s. Nope, He’s going to ask what we did for Him. Did we accept the gift of His Son’s life and did we spend time serving Him and telling others of His love for them? Did we treat others as we’d want to be treated? It’s not going to be about your physical presence and the physical things you acquired; it’s going to be about how rich you are in your faith and service to Him. This will be the one time when the “WHO” you know means everything!
My son exemplified the meaning of the Golden Rule. He stood up for someone who could not stand up for himself. Someone who society would see as an outcast and someone to overlook entirely. My son saw him as a man. A person God created and loved. A person with a story that you could assume was riddled with mistakes along his journey that led him to his seat on the curb; but a fellow human being none the less.
What he did took less than five minutes, but he showed that man that he had value as an individual and that someone cared about the way he was treated. To me, that’s what I find worthy of admiration.
Matthew 25: 34-40 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’