“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)
Summer before the one that just past, both children were otherwise occupied. Oldest was working at an internship in environmental studies and living at college. Youngest was working at a Boy Scout camp in Virginia. So, husband and I were kidless. While the whole summer loomed ahead of us as one long, luscious staycation, we decided to take advantage of our freedom and take a trip on husband’s motorcycle. Taking into consideration my two hour butt, we plotted out a route that would allow us to travel less than four hours per day, but still get far enough away to feel like we were seeing something new. Our ultimate destination was Savannah, Georgia, but we took the slow road up the east coast staying at Daytona Beach, Fernandina Beach, and St. Simons Island along the way. The first leg of our vacation found us stuck in Friday night rush hour traffic in Orlando. If you have never been on Interstate 4 on a Friday afternoon or evening, count yourself lucky. It is not a pleasant experience. We had planned on taking US 301, but a late start and a need for speed put us on the Interstate. Wrong choice. We would have been better off sitting at the many traffic lights than parking in the middle of the Interstate. By the time we got to Daytona Beach, the light was fading and so was my patience. Especially since husband likes to travel with no reservations. I am a planner, while he prefers to wing it and by 8:00, almost all the hotels on the beach were filled. After going from one to the other, we finally found a place with a vacancy that looked fairly clean and climbed stiffly off the bike for the night. Then, the challenge came to find a restaurant without a three hour wait for a table. We settled on Bubba Gumps, put our name on the list and went for an hour walk on the beach. It was after 9:00 when we were seated at our table and we were both fading fast. Because we were tired and hungry, we ordered way too much food and drink. We enjoyed it all, or at least as much as we could eat, but we were so fatigued, we mostly sat in a stupor as the meal was served. When we were ready to leave, husband asked for our check. Much to our surprise, the waiter confided that a couple at another table paid for our meal along with theirs. Husband was stunned. Why would strangers buy our dinner? They had already left the restaurant so we could not ask them why or thank them for their generosity. To this day, husband still muses over their kindness. He just cannot understand it. I think I know what happened. The King nudged two strangers and compelled them to show compassion on two weary travelers. Their actions remind us of His command that we should do the same.