I was heading toward the checkout at Walmart the other day and a man in his early thirties approached me holding a loaf of bread, some bologna, and some potato chips. I could tell he was going to ask for help because I guess we all have a personal radar that pings in those situations. He said that he didn’t want money, he just needed the food to eat because he’d been sleeping in his car for the past week or so as he looked for a job. Feeling awkward, and knowing I’d feel guilty if I didn’t help I agreed.
As we waited in line, I asked him for his name. “Jonathan,” he replied.
I said, “That’s my baby brother’s name.”
To which he answered, “That’s cool. I have a big brother. I miss him. We haven’t spoken in many years.”
I hated to hear that because my brothers are so important to me. I couldn’t imagine not speaking to them.
We checked out and he took his bag of food. As we walked out the door, I asked him, “What’s your brother’s name?”
“His name is Darrell,” he told me.
I told him that’s MY name… We exchanged words about the coincidence and parted ways.
Here’s the update: 6 days after this interaction, I was approached by another man who was asking for help. Affected by my encounter with Jonathan, I quickly agreed to assist him. “What’s your name?” I asked. His name? David. If you’re wondering, that’s my older brother’s name.
Here are a couple of my takeaways from these interactions. First, everybody is somebody’s son, daughter, sister, or brother. Each person, rich or poor, whom we meet, needs to be loved and cared for. This is a good lesson…and it’s pretty important. Matthew chapter 25 comes to mind. Second, we really never know God’s reasons for placing us exactly where we are at any given moment. But maybe if we lift up our eyes from our own lives long enough, He will reveal it to us in His own time.