Would You Let A Homeless Man Buy Your Lunch? I Did, Here’s Why by Travis Sharpe

Okay, Okay. Before you tar and feather me, let me explain.

A couple days ago a new friend (who is currently living in a motel) called and asked me to come get him and take him to get some food because he doesn’t have a vehicle.
I first met him last week when he called us for help. He was in need of a place to stay, food, and clothes. We helped with his lodging and food. He started a small, part time job last Monday.
One of the things he told me at our first meeting was how lonely he was. He doesn’t have any friends and he has burned bridges with most of his family. He has been facing serious depression and life is just not what he wants it to be right now.
When he called a couple days ago, he said that he wanted to buy my lunch. Of course, my first instinct was to say no. In a split second, on my end of the phone, I thought of all the reasons I should decline.
  • I have more money than him.
  • He is the one in need, not me.
  • He needs to spend his money on himself.
  • It would just be wrong.
But instead of saying no, I agreed. I picked him up and we had a great lunch at Captain D’s (yes that’s possible) and he paid for it.
Here’s why I let him.
1. It was important to him to repay me.

When I help someone, I always do it without expecting anything in return. I don’t stay up late at night becoming bitter at people because I did something for them but they didn’t return the favor. I believe in giving “as unto the Lord”. God himself will take care of paying me back. (See Proverbs 19:17 about that!)

But this case was different. He told me that he appreciated me taking the time to help him with some food and a night in the motel last week. Now he wanted to be a blessing to me. When I saw that this was important to him, I let him buy.

2. It gave him an avenue to contribute.

We all believe that it is better to give than to receive, right? Then how come we don’t allow people to give?

I knew that this man needed to give. He had been in a position of much receiving lately and that position can lead to feeling like a failure or a lesser person. I knew that he would gain a sense of accomplishment buy buying my meal.

And he did! You should have seen his smile and his countenance as he handed the clerk the money. He knew in his heart that, at that moment, he was the giver, not the receiver.

3. It put us on an even playing field.

Now the score is 1 to 1. I have helped him and he has helped me. Not that I’m keeping score or anything. But a real relationship does has give and take doesn’t it?

As we sat there and enjoyed our meal, we talked about all kinds of stuff. His family, my family. His past, my past. You get the idea. It seemed very real. It was not all charity. It was a guy trying to feel like he was contributing something to a new friendship. And he did.

How I got more than a meal out of this

There is another reason that this is important. You see, it is easy for someone like me (and possibly you) who is always helping people, to start to feel like I am the answer.
Sooner or later you get a lot of pride (in the bad way) and you start thinking that you are better than the people you are helping.
It’s easy to get a “God complex”. That is, to start to think that we are what people need.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is, we all are the same. We all need the Lord. We all fall short of His glory. So for him to buy my meal was a reminder to me that I too have needs and that I am not above the people I serve.
So what about you? Have you ever received a gift from someone like this? How did it make you feel?