I was walking in downtown Fullerton this week on my way to meet Kristy at Tranquil Tea lounge to talk kids ministry when a homeless man on a bike stopped me. He immediately went into his story about losing his job, wife, life and was now on the streets. He was going on and on so I stopped him and asked, "What do you need?" He said he was hungry and wanted money to get a bite. As I usually do, I told I couldn't give him cash but could buy him breakfast. So on the way down the street to Rialto Cafe, I asked him about his life - where he was from, what he did for work, where he was currently living. When we got to Rialto, I told Becky, the waitress, that I would buy Dennis (the guy's name) anything he wanted, but that I had a meeting next door and would come back for the bill. I told Dennis I couldn't stay, but to order whatever he wanted.
After my meeting with Kristy, I came back to Rialto to pay the bill. It was $17! A little startled, I asked Becky what he ordered that cost that much? She told me, "Steak and eggs." I laughed.
Truth be told, after the initial shock, I was a little bit miffed at the audacity. Mostly, because I know I couldn't have done that. It would have gone against every Japanese bone in my body. I also felt a tinged taken advantage of. But the more I thought about it, I was really glad Dennis ordered the steak and eggs. After all, I told him anything on the menu. Who knows when the last time he really had a good meal, let alone a T-bone steak? I was even smiling at the fact that he had the shamelessness (and appetite) to order exactly what he wanted.
During this past Easter season, P.Erin and I were talking in the office about how Evangelicals often view Lent as a time to make sacrifices (i.e to suffer without) to identify with the suffering of Christ. People will forgo caffeine, television, chocolate. But that assumes we have, so that we can go without for a time. But for others, Lent might be a season to actually indulge in what they cannot otherwise partake or afford. For the poor or oppressed, that might mean enjoying that delectable sweet or out-of-reach treat as a celebration of what Jesus has done. I was thinking about this when reflecting more on Dennis. Jesus often told stories about the kingdom of God being like inviting those on the street to a great feast, to a banquet his Father was throwing.
I can see steak and eggs being on the menu.