By Joshua Loudermilk | Contributing Writer
I sit a bit miffed by the fact I just paid $4 for a single bottle of orange juice. It is not like there is anything special about it. Maybe I am paying for their marketing. That must be it.
Here is what I paid for: “We use only the freshest, purest stuff in the world and leave out everything else. No added sugar — no preservatives, non-GMO (no idea what that means), gluten free, vegan.”
Really?! At the end of the day, it is just orange juice. It comes from an orange. I would expect to pay more if they had added sugar, loaded it up on gluten, infused it with so many preservatives that the expiration date would say “never,” and it be chock full of GMO. But, they cut all of “that stuff” out and gave me simply … orange juice.
And they charged me dearly.
Love makes you do crazy things. I had bought this overpriced orange juice for a man who was in desperate need.
He was skinny, ragged, his clothes barely clung to his broken frame, and his eyes were tired but keenly focused. He was digging through the trash can, quickly eating whatever he could find and finishing off the contents of old drinks. He was talking to himself and seemed agitated. The people sitting outside chuckled, murmured, and some even went inside to avoid his appearance. So, I decided to help this guy out by buying him the best Starbucks could offer.
I went inside and came outside with $8 worth of orange juice and one crumbled blueberry scone. I don’t like scones, but the very name “scone” sounds high-class and uppity. So, outside I went to give this guy something far better than he was eating. Looking at his face, I noticed a star of David tattoo between his eyes. He looked so tired and hungry … I thought for sure that he would appreciate my gesture.
He did not. He took the scone and put it in his duffle bag. He then handed the orange juice back to me and said he didn’t want it. I offered to buy him a different drink. Nope, he didn’t want that either. Then, he started murmuring in an angry tone about the people coming for him, and I watched him drink some milky liquid from a cup he found outside.
So, here I sit inside Starbucks, staring at an orange juice that was not meant for me. I wonder if he had any idea how good this stuff really is and how much he needs the vitamin C. I wonder if he knew I would have bought him anything he wanted? But, he wanted the trash.
There is much more to this story. God had a larger agenda and intended to show me something. I have never seen it this way until now.
This past week, I was confronted with a part of me I did not want to confront. I have been harboring bitterness toward certain folks in my life for several years. There is not a week that has gone by that I have not thought about these folks, thought about how they wronged me, thought about how I felt abandoned by them and thought of how much they owe me. God showed me through this man at Starbucks that I was no different than the old man I was trying to help.
Like eating old trash, I was feeding off my resentment about something that happened seven years ago. I thought I had moved on, but I had not.
God has been trying to give me the very best — His daily bread — and I have consistently said, “No thanks,” and have feasted upon what will kill me. So, I have spent the last several days contacting each of these people I had hurt and who had hurt me, and I asked their forgiveness. Words cannot express the peace I feel in my heart and the freedom I have. God has replaced the bitterness with love, and now I am hungry — hungry for what is good and beneficial.
Josh Loudermilk is an inspirational speaker/comic and available to speak at your church, group or event. He, his wife, Melissa, and daughter, Chloe, live in Walden Lake. You can reach Josh at firstname.lastname@example.org.