He said his name was Danny. As we walked out of the local mall, he came over to us and asked a simple request: "Could you get me something hot to eat? I haven't got any money." His lonely gaze met ours, and it was clear that he was homeless. Carrying his belongings on his back, his face was red from the bitter cold outside. Just inside the mall was a pretzel stand. My mom agreed to buy him a pretzel. As I watched her walk Danny over to the pretzel stand, I thought about how many people might have passed up the opportunity to reach out to him. I had already seen a lady pass by him prior to him talking to us. I also thought of how desperately this world needs kindness, of how starved it is for love. For His love! I prayed quietly as my mom handed Danny his pretzel and began to ask him if he had lived here very long. "All my life," came the reply. He was a hometown boy…one of us. A local. Just a young man who had fallen on hard times. Don't we all? In that moment, as we left him eating his pretzel just inside the doorway of the mall, I walked away contemplating the fact that our simple act of care and kindness could end up changing his life. We will probably never know…but stories have been told of how one person changed the future of someone who was down and out because they took the time to stop and show they cared. Maybe…just maybe…I thought: Danny was touched by God through us. Maybe that day his heart was warmed through a little act of love.
This world can often be quite unforgiving and unloving. People rush on past those who hurt the most and will not take the time to listen and reach out. I see it all the time. I have sadly done it more than once myself. But going forward, I resolve to live differently. To not be counted among those who are too busy, too stressed to pause and give a hand to another in need. There are lots of Dannys out there who just need to be told that they matter. That someone cares for them. Who need to be shown the love of the Savior. Jesus said it himself: those who give a cup of cold water (or in our case, a pretzel) in his name will gain eternal rewards (Matt. 10:42). Those who do these acts of love will be blessed by God (Matt. 25: 34-40), and God will also bless those who receive these gestures of caring from His followers. Truly, with every act of love they become the door through which God can reach the aching hearts of a dying and desperate world. Don't turn down the chance to become a blessing. Your "Danny" just might show up today, and you could have an opportunity to show them the love of God.