The Least of These: A Story

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My journey home from the office was always the same. I would plug my earphones into my i-pod, block out the sounds, forget about my day at the office, and dream about dinner, baths, comfy slippers and the bar of chocolate I was going to buy on my way home. I barely noticed the streets as I weaved my way between the city workers.

Then I would descend, underground, and cling onto a pole as I made my way out of the city. Eventually I might be lucky enough to get a seat, not often though. My feet would be aching, from standing and my back would hurt from bending over all day, picking up rubbish off the floor. None of the accountants or bankers seemed to care about getting rubbish into the bin. They had probably had people to pick things up for them their whole lives. When they were at work, I was that person. Unnoticed. The cleaner. The one who worked later than anybody else.

If we ever did cross paths; they would look away.

I would pretend I didn’t care, but really I did. I might not have a fancy degree, but I had worked hard to get here too. I was the cleverest in my family, before they all were gone, before I came to this new country. None of that seemed to matter though.

I pulled my scarf tighter round my neck as I left the train. It was so cold. There was always a man who sat by the entrance to the station. He didn’t have a home, he only had a sleeping bag and a dog to keep himself warm. Over the months it was like he had become part of the building; I was that used to seeing him sitting there.

Something stirred in my heart as I reached in my pocket and felt my last pound. The one that was going to buy me a bar of chocolate. I looked at him. He needed it more. I walked over, I was just going to drop it into his pot, and carry on. It was too cold to stand around chatting. When he looked at me I smiled, I couldn’t just leave him.

“This is for you.” I pressed the money into his hand. I knew it wasn’t a lot, but it was all I had.

Before me, he transformed into someone I recognised. Someone I had known my whole life.

“Whatever you do for the least of these you do for me.”

My pound might not have been a lot, the people I worked with could have given so much more. But my small amount, my widows offering, was seen by Jesus.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)

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