Last week I spent a few hours in the Rio de Janeiro airport awaiting a flight to Brasília. As I walked through the various terminals, I prayed, “Lord, help me to be a blessing to someone here today.”
At lunch time I headed to a cafeteria that serves lunch by the kilo. (The price is based on how much your food weighs.) Since airport food is expensive, I filled my plate with mostly salad and a little meat. The man in front of me, however, piled his plate high. When we reached the cashier, he handed her a ten real bill (Brazilian money worth about $3). When she explained that it wasn’t enough, he looked confused and responded in broken English that he didn’t have any more money. He pointed to the sign that said, “$6.99 per 100 grams,” which he had understood to mean seven reais for “all-you-can-eat”!
I did my best to help them come to an understanding and when he finally grasped his mistake, he pushed the plate of food toward the woman, and said, “I can’t pay.” Suddenly, I blurted out, “Don’t worry, I’ll pay for you.” He thanked me in a daze and wandered away with his tray. I gasped when I saw that the sum of our bills was 25 U.S. dollars, but dutifully shelled out the money. Minutes later when I set my food on a table and bowed my head, I remembered my earlier prayer and had to laugh. “Lord, thank you for helping me to be a blessing, but next time could you make it less expensive?”
The Lord gently chastened me. How easy it is in my walk with Christ to want to be “salt and light” without paying the price. Oh, yes, I’ll gladly offer a random prayer here or there, a friendly greeting or any small act of kindness that doesn’t impinge on my time or my priorities. But, heaven forbid, that any of these acts should threaten my bank account! I was thankful for the reminder that true love is costly. Jesus paid the highest price so that I could be reconciled to Him. The things He asks me to do are small in comparison.