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"Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.” Matthew 25:40 (The Daily Life Bible)
On Friday afternoons Kenny sits on the fireplug outside the pharmacy near my office. He’s there on Fridays, I’ve learned, because the deli nearby provides him with a free dinner at 4:00 p.m., giving away food that would otherwise go bad over the weekend.
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I guess you could call Kenny homeless, but he doesn’t act like he’s down on his luck. He’s a sharp dresser, wearing a coat and tie and a navy-blue overcoat in the winter. He leans on a cane and has a wide toothy grin.
He has a chronic condition that requires frequent doctor visits and regular medication, hence the spot near the pharmacy. He has a room in a shelter somewhere up in Harlem.
When I first got to know him, I figured I was performing an act of charity. After all, Jesus tells us to look out for “the least of these.” But Kenny has become more than that. He’s a friend.
Often as not, when I’ve promised to pray for him, he’s stood up from his fireplug and given me a hug. The other day he was missing something.
“Where’s your Bible?” I asked. He grinned and pointed to his head. “I keep it right up here.”
“You know, I try to memorize Bible verses, but as soon as I learn them, I forget them.”
"Don’t worry,” he said. “You’ve got Jesus in the right place.” He gestured to my chest. “You’ve got Him in your heart and that’s just where He should be.” Then he gave me a big hug.
I walked back to the office, thinking that I’d just lived out a parable of Jesus’. Who was helping whom? One of “the least of these” had just blessed me.
Let me give, Lord, as You have extravagantly given to me.