God didn't exactly tell me to go to McDonald's.
But He did tell me to view every person in need as Jesus.
That means that, out of gratitude for God's undeserved gifts of forgiveness and new life for all who repent and believe in Jesus, I'm called to love others as God has loved me.
And I'm to do it with practical gestures, not just hollow words.
A few weeks ago, I was in Columbus' Short North district for a concert. Before the show began, we decided to walk along North High Street, in a stretch once blighted, but now filled with new bustle and vibrance. But, while there, I encountered several people who asked for money to eat.
At the time, contrary to my usual practice, all I had was a twenty. I usually only care a few ones.
To my embarrassment, I was loathe to part with the twenty.
And, of course--or, at least it's an "of course" to me, every time I was approached by one of these folks, I kicked into rationalizations for why I shouldn't give them any money.
"How do I know that they won't use the money on drugs or booze?" I asked myself.
"How do I know if this these people aren't lazy and this is just their way of generating income?" I wondered.
Well, of course--there's that phrase again, I don't know if the people I encounter on city streets or at the lights of freeway off ramps aren't druggies, boozers, or users.
And even if they are any of those things, there's a good chance that they still get hungry.
Besides, those words of Jesus were haunting me: "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one the least these, you did not do for Me" (Matthew 25:45).
So, I prayed. "God," I asked. "How can I be responsive to these people, without judging them, leaving that to You alone?"
Then, it occurred to me that I could honor such folks' professed request by giving them a gift card to a fast food place that doesn't sell alcohol. Voila: McDonald's.
Yes, people can sell the cards I give to them and use the cash to buy drugs or drink. They can ditch them, too.
But I'm not responsible for what people do with the gifts from God that we share with them. I'm only responsible for what I do with God's gifts to me.
Everything else is up to God.
So, I bought some gift cards from McDonald's as a way to be obedient to the God of love Who, through Christ, has changed from His enemy to His friend. I plan to keep a few of the cards with me all the time.
You never can tell where life with God may lead you. Maybe even to McDonald's.