Yesterday....I was truly humbled by my brother!
We'd all gone together to this Bible Study where a number of our friends meet regularly. And even though it wasn't like church, everyone always looked nice and well kept. But this particular day, one of the teenage guys came in wearing old dirty tattered jeans, and and a grimy shirt that looked like he'd just come in from working in the barn. I don't know this kid real well, to be honest. I know that his family struggles financially, but the rest of the members of his family were wearing appropriate clean clothing, and I've seen him in better clothes before. So in my mind, I was thinking, "So why wasn't HE?" It kinda bugged me. I mean, I know this isn't church or anything, but this is Bible Study, and this is a time when we all get together to meet our God, and to pray and fellowship and spend some deep time in God's word...why couldn't this teenager have just a little more respect????
All the while I was standing there thinking critical thoughts in my heart, my little brother Daniel (who actually isn't soooo little anymore - he's like 6'2'') came up and starting talking with this guy. They were just visiting about life, and Daniel was making him feel warm and welcomed. I'm not really into teenage boys conversations, so I walked away to find another conversation.
However, a little while later, I noticed this guy disappear, and a few minutes after he came back wearing a nice clean set of dress clothes. He looked fresh and clean and definitely much more in line for a Bible study. And I was thinking, "Wow!!! So he did bring clean clothes after all. He must just not have had time to change before he came in. Well, good for him!"
Incidentally, my brother had also changed. He was now wearing his overalls. They are brand new, so look nice, but I was thinking in my head, "What? Why did Daniel change?? I guess he must have wanted to show-off his new overalls or something..." but there were people all around, so I just kept my thoughts to myself. It didn't dawn on me why the significance of the switch, nor did I realize that the clothes this troubled teen was now wearing looked strikingly similar to what Daniel had been wearing...
Later on, as we were driving away, my mom gave Daniel a hug.
"That was sooooo unselfish of you to think of giving Ben, your nice dress clothes! I'm proud of you!" she affirmed. "They looked like they fit about perfect too!"
Now I was aghast...
"WHAT???? YOU gave that guy your clothes??" I asked in amazement????? "I had no idea???" Daniel just smiled. "Yep, and he gave the family $200 to help with expenses too!" my mom added. (Insert note: my brother isn't making much of any kind of pay-check right now, so his money is limited too! Yet, nothing seems to stop his generous heart!)
"Wow...." I continued in amazement. "I had no clue. I just thought Ben had some other clothes he hadn't had time to change into. And actually, it was because of YOU!!! I am sooo amazed!!! No wonder you changed into your overalls Daniel? I was wondering why you did that when you already looked soooo nice in your dress clothes!!!"
I sat back in silence...
Here the whole time I'd been thinking critical thoughts in my heart about this poor boy. He surely wasn't ready for any Bible study. And my little brother Daniel had just marched into the scene, seen the need, and done something about it....even if it meant giving the shirt of his own back. I was truly chastised. In fact, I think it's pretty obvious...I was the one that really wasn't ready for Bible study that day. "God forgive me! I have been humbled and reminded once again...what matters most is not the outside, but the heart!"
Next time, I may not give the poor teenage boy my clothes (I don't think he would wear them anyway) but I will seek to do what I can, and I will be more careful about my critical heart towards others.
Thanks Daniel, for the important lesson!