I am cheap. That’s not always a bad thing. The problem is that I’m often cheap in the “penny wise, pound foolish” way. And I lack willpower. Those two things combined are what get me into trouble. Today is a prime example.
When I returned from socal about a week ago, I felt fat. Actually I was already fat, but I was feeling fatter than normal fat, which is already pretty fat. So I started to get back into exercising and eating healthier, and for the past week I’ve actually been doing ok on both fronts– a rarity for me. So today I had a fat craving for McDonalds, so I figured I deserved a break. A small break. So at lunchtime as I walked towards Mickey D’s I began to think about what to get and settled on a McChicken and fries. Not too bad a setback, I thought, I could just make it up at the gym tonight.
But as soon as I walked into McD’s that whole plan went out the door. I saw that they had 20 McNuggets for $4.99, so before I knew it, I walked out with 20 McNuggets and medium french fries. Actually it’s lucky that I didn’t have more cash because they had 50 nuggets for 10 bucks, which I surely would’ve got if I had the cash. Dahhh… Stupid sales and their humongous, colorful ads– they always work on a penny wise, pound foolish, willpower lacking consumer like me.
As I walked back to the office a homeless guy asked me if I had any spare change. I didn’t, because I had just blown all my money on McNuggets and french fries. But conveniently the McNuggets came in two packages of ten, so I ended up offering him one of my packages, which he gladly accepted, and to which he replied, “God Bless You.”
“God Bless You...”
That got me thinking. So cliché, those words, to the point that they don’t really mean anything. But yet I believe in God, so I guess I should believe that He blesses, regardless of whether the homeless guy does or not. And in my experience he does, in seemingly random ways. Today I won’t need to spend 3 hours on the elliptical machine burning off an additional ten nuggets. I guess in a way, that’s a blessing.
Sometimes there’s an old man in a wheelchair in front of Safeway, sometimes I buy him one of those sandwiches that are $1.99 when you buy two or more. So really it only costs me a buck to do that, since if I bought myself a sandwich it would have been $2.99. A couple of times doing that got me a coupon for a free fresh made deli sandwich which I would’ve been too cheap to buy otherwise. That’s definitely a blessing.
When I worked at CalPERS I was too cheap to pay for parking, so I parked underneath the highway 50 overpass. During the rainy season there used to be a homeless guy who slept underneath the overpass. Sometimes when I had fruit I would give him a banana or orange (He told me he couldn’t eat apples because of his rotten teeth). Every week under that overpass there was a new pile of broken glass from a car that had been broken into. During the three years I parked there, I never had my car broken into. It’s probably not related, but I like to think that homeless guy was guarding my car. I would consider that a blessing too.
Three examples when I was blessed by doing good. In truth I’m usually really bad. Probably 90% of the time I ignore the homeless people I see–I’m especially guilty of that when driving. But today got me thinking about the parable in Matthew 25 about the sheep and the goats. The sheep are those that help those that are less fortunate, they are also referred to as the righteous. In the parable those are the ones who are blessed. The goats are those who ignore those who are less fortunate. They receive eternal punishment.
The last line of the chapter says this: “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
So that got me thinking. What happens to someone like me, who exhibits both sheep and goat tendencies?