Both father and son came on their bicycles this past Saturday.  The roads, you will recall, were cold, icy and treacherous.  They came to see if they could receive a hot meal from our community lunch.  They were early.  It was 15 minutes before our doors were open.  But it was too frigid for them to wait outside, so we let them in.  As they sat on the chairs in our foyer, the older man said, “Food is so expensive.”  We agreed with him.  Inflation has pushed the price of groceries up in some cases by 30%, and those who once were able to afford it no longer can.  Then he said, “I’m so sorry we have to come to take this food that the poor people can have.”


That simple statement took me aback.  Fundamental to what he said challenged our innate sense of entitlement.  Did he say, “This inflation has made me poor, and now I have come to claim what is mine”?  Not so.  In fact, the opposite is true to this simple man.  It made me reflect on our own sense of entitlement.  How often do we reach for things that we need thinking that we deserve what we get?  How often do we give to those in need counting the cost of what we give as if it were ours, not theirs, to begin with?  Jesus took His disciples to task when He called them into a world to be ministers of healing, care and generosity when He said, “You have received freely.  Now go, and give freely” (Matthew 10:8).  May we never be found fearing that those we minister to may dirty what we haven’t cleaned, or steal what we have been freely granted.  May we see the gospel of grace so freely given to us as precious food that we must share with a world that is poor, lost and hungry.  Freely have we received.  Now, freely give.