What If It Were Me

Last week, I was walking along Newbury Street in Boston at night, and a homeless man was asking for money. I don’t give out money on the street, but I will get someone food or something to drink. But I thought I was in a rush, I was too busy, so I just said sorry, I can’t help tonight and kept going.

Then, I thought, what if that was me? What if I had to beg for money and survive on the street? So, after I walked for a little more, I went into a Dunkin Donuts and got him a gift card.

When I went back to him, I gave it to him, and he said to me, “How much is on it?” I said, “$20.” “$20, no way, I can’t believe it!” His face lit up, and he started thanking me with a loud voice. Then he held the card up in the air, and yelled out loud for everyone in a 50-foot radius to hear, “This man has a good heart!” Embarrassed, I awkwardly mumbled a few things as I walked away as fast as I could. But it was a great moment for me. It reminded me of what’s important.

I started thinking, when it comes time for my judgment, who’s going to be there as a witness for me? Who’s going to go out of their way to speak on my behalf? I don’t think it’s going to be any of my bosses, coaches, or teachers, probably not priests or bishops. Certainly not any politicians or pro athletes or entertainers. Who will it be?

You know who I think it will be? It will be all the “nobodies” that I’ve had the privilege to minister to, to give back to. “Freely have you received, freely give.” (Mt 10:8) It will be all the people where I said to myself, “What if it were me?” They will be my witnesses.

There’s only one way to heaven: You have to have a good heart. If you do, you’ll have some witnesses lined up to stand before everyone else in the moment of judgment, to say the words, “This one has a good heart!”

What’s the key? You have to ask the question:

“What if it were me?”

“Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do thus to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (Mt 7:12)

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