CQ Synapse November 2012

“You thought it was best to play it safe,” my husband responded when I shared with him what had happened. “So stop second guessing yourself.”

"The Fast I Have Chosen"

By Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti, Editor, CQ Bible Study Guide

“Ma’am, could you please help me buy some food?” I was shopping in my local co-op health food store and had wandered away from my grocery cart to look for a plastic bag in which to put some apples. Instead, I walked right into the path of a man who appeared to be homeless. Plus, his demeanor reminded me of some of the special education students I used to teach—eager to please, but not quite sure how.

A host of thoughts rushed through my mind: I don’t have much cash. But I could go through the store with him and pay for his food when I write a check for my groceries. No. I’m alone. What if he follows me out to my car? What if he steals my groceries? What if he tries to. . . ? These considerations plus others reeled through my mind.

“What was that you said?” I asked him, stalling for a bit more time to come up with a reply.

“Could you help me buy some food?”

After what felt like forever, I simply said, “No. I’m sorry.”

“Thank you anyway,” he replied with a smile.

Immediately I was smitten with remorse. And to make matters worse, everywhere I went after that, there he was ahead of me—a thorn in my flesh. His purchases were meager, but wise—two peaches, a box of granola, toothpaste, an Amy’s frozen dinner, a sandwich from the deli. . . .

I also noticed something else. Just before he would choose an item, he’d ask a store clerk to help him. Oh no! He hadn’t been asking for money. When he first saw me, I was walking toward him without my cart. So he thought I worked in the store and was literally asking me for help with his shopping!

Tears burned my eyes and remorse stung my heart as I checked out, left the store, and drove home. I could hear God saying to me personally, “ ‘Is this not the fast I have chosen: . . . / to share your bread with the hungry. . . ?’ ” (Isa. 58:6, 7. NKJV). Then Christ whispered, “ ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me’ ” (Matt. 25:45, NIV).
“You thought it was best to play it safe,” my husband responded when I shared with him what had happened. “So stop second guessing yourself.”

But I’ve been asking myself ever since, Since when did Christ ever play it safe?