For the Least of These …

I was doing some Christmas shopping at a toy store last Christmas and an incident occurred that touched me deeply.

As I was hurrying up and down the aisles looking for presents, I was stopped and called over by an old lady who was sitting on a bench with two young children; one sitting beside her, the other on her lap.

She said to me, “Excuse me, dear, but could you please tie my shoe for me?” Her shoe lace was dangling and I think she murmured something about her grandson untying it. In the split second before I bent down to tie her shoe many thoughts came to me, like …. “why can’t she take the child off her lap and tie it herself?” … “is she lazy?” …. “what a humbling thing to ask a stranger – it’s almost like asking to wash one’s feet!” … “the nerve of her to ask me that when I’m in a hurry!” But, of course, I didn’t pause but dutifully knelt down and tied it. She said quite nonchalantly, “Thank-you, dear.” I responded with “You’re welcome”, and then left.

I spotted her a while later in the store, reunited with the children’s mother. Just before leaving the store, she came up to me and said, “I just want to say ‘thank you’ so much for your kindness in helping me with my shoe.” Now I felt embarrassed at my initial “thoughts” and wondered why she chose to thank me again. After all – it was no big deal – just taking a minute to tie a shoe.

When I was walking through the parking lot to my van, I glanced back at the store and there was the lady, walking with her family, and she began smiling and waving excitedly at me. I wasn’t sure at first if she was waving at me but there was no one else behind me. As I waved back I felt funny inside and thought “all I did was tie a shoe”. It seemed that her appreciation had gone from minimal to excess! It seemed so weird. I began to wonder if she was, perhaps, and angel and I was in a position of testing.

As I pondered on it afterwards, the Lord’s own words came to me. He said, “I WAS THAT WOMAN”. I asked the Lord, “Were you testing me?” “NO”, He responded. “I KNEW YOU WOULD HELP. I WANTED YOU TO KNOW THAT ALL THOSE INSIGNIFICANT, UNNOTICED ACTS OF KINDNESS ARE NOTICED BY ME! AND THEY ARE ‘VERY IMPORTANT’ TO ME AND ‘VERY SIGNIFICANT’ TO ME!”

The Lord’s words to me made me weep with gratitude for His love and devotion in revealing this truth to me. On earth, we are often taken advantage of, not appreciated, and sometimes not even thanked for the selfless little things we do for others. But Jesus is watching us! He appreciates every little sacrifice we make and He will one day thank us personally. For “what we do for the least of these … we do for HIM!”

May His love touch you, this Christmas season, in such a way that it inspires you to reach out and touch someone else. Remember … it could be Jesus sitting next to you. How will you respond?

God bless you immensely!

Yours in Christ,

Catherine Boivin
Christmas 1996

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)