Jonathan McCall is the definition of what it means to love your neighbor. The Tennessee man was grabbing a quick snack with his son Caden at Taco Bell last week when he noticed a “disheveled, dirty man” walk into the restaurant.
“He would not make eye contact with the girl when he ordered his food and kept his face down towards the floor. His body looked tired and his spirit looked broken,” Jonathan told Love What Matters. “Speaking in a timid voice, he ordered a single item from the $1 menu. After he received his food, selected a table that was away from everyone else in the restaurant. He placed his small pack that contained all of his belongings on the back of a chair and sat to eat his meager meal.”
I think in most cases, as much as we believe we might have done something, the majority of us would look at this dirty, disheveled man, and feel our hearts break. But that would be the end of it. Some of us might offer to buy him a meal, believing that giving him money would be just buying his next supply of drugs. But in all honesty, most of us probably wouldn’t even notice him — or pay any attention to the fact that he even exists.
But that’s why Jonathan McCall is so inspiring.
He walked over and asked the man if he could sit with him.
The man obliged, and the two sat across from each other like two friends would.
“After a few moments of conversation, when he realized that I was not there with a self-serving agenda, his empty eyes finally looked into mine as he began to tell me his life history,” Jonathan wrote. “This man’s name is Mark and tonight he was my friend for dinner. Yes, we sat in Taco Bell for what seemed like 5 minutes but in reality, I think it was nearly two hours of talking, laughing, crying, and enjoying every second of life.”
Jonathan says it would have been easy to ignore Mark.
“It would have been easy to scoff at him or look down on him because his problems are more noticeable than ours.
The thing is, if our messy lives don’t define us in the eyes of the Lord, then why should Mark’s messy life define who he is to me? All I had to do was love him without prejudice or conditions. Seriously, it really is that simple. Just love! Unconditional love is empowering! It is freeing! It changes people! Just love them!”
Jonathan says he’s met many other “Marks” in his day. He’s sat with them and talked to them over a meal, or on the street.
And isn’t that exactly what Jesus did? He ministered to the “unclean,” he spoke to forbidden women and exiled men. He loved the lesser person, and he left the 99 to chase after the ONE.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:35-40)
Jonathan knows there will be more “Marks” in his future. He says he hopes in sharing his experience at Taco Bell, that people would not see it as him being boastful, but that they would be inspired to love BOLDLY. Jesus did this, and has called us to do the same.