"Having It Worse"
December 11, 2012
(Jesus said) "And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.'" Matthew 25:40
Like most tourists, Arizona resident Jennifer Foster was impressed by many of "The Big Apple" sites. Still, one site, more than the rest, made an impression on her and her camera. She was appreciating the diversity of people in Times Square, when she noticed a poor, shoeless man.
She was about to approach the man when a uniformed officer from the NYPD came up to the fellow. Without the officer knowing he was being watched, he said, "I have these size-12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let's put them on and take care of you." Then the officer knelt down and put socks and the new boots on the man." That was when Foster took her candid picture.
That's the story. But what to do with the story? I must confess there are many paths we could go.
* For example, we could talk about how the officer -- his name is Lawrence DePrimo -- reminds us of Jesus washing the disciples' feet. Nobody expects a hardnosed NYPD officer to bend down to put socks and shoes on the feet of a homeless man. Still, that is similar to what Jesus did, and it is what He has urged His followers to do.
* Or we could talk about how all of our Christmas gifts are only poor imitations of God's great Gift to us: His Son who gave Himself as the sacrifice for our salvation.
* Or we could even talk about how we Christians ought to live our lives as examples that point to the Savior. We never know when someone is watching the witness we are making.
Yes, we could use any of those, but I would prefer to use one supplied by Officer DePrimo. The story I read says the officer has kept the receipt of his transaction with him in his pocket. Why? He says, that small piece of paper reminds him "that sometimes people have it worse."
He's right. Some people do have it worse. There are those for whom starvation is a constant companion and daily decisions must be made as to which child will be less hungry. They have it worse. We Christians in North America have brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted for their faith. They have it worse. There are many millions of people who woke up today feeling lost, alone and unloved. They will go to bed feeling the same. They have it worse.
And, of course, there are those people who do not know Jesus. They do not know that 2,000 years ago God's Son was born into this world to offer His life as a ransom for their redemption. They still live their lives burdened by sins they believe are unforgiven and without the hope the risen Lord can offer. These people are infinitely worse off.
Now Officer DePrimo does not have the resources to put shoes on the feet of every homeless individual in this world, and we don't have the ability to change the situations of all those who have it worse than us. But we can still do something for someone. God grant we do.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You have given me a Savior and so much more. May I do what I can to help those who have it worse. This I ask in the Name of Him who helped me. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries