A year or two ago I was hitchhiking across the Navajo Indian Reservation in northeast Arizona and I got a couple of rides to Flagstaff. It was during the winter and it was going to get cold that night (maybe around 0 degrees F), so I stayed at a Christian mission in downtown Flagstaff.
They have a well-run mission there. After 5 PM, one of the leaders would give a Gospel message and then we would have supper. After supper, we would shower and then go to bed. They have a dorm room upstairs; I believe they have beds for twenty men.
So the next morning we were eating our breakfast and one of the leaders asked everybody, “So who wants to volunteer to wash dishes?”
Immediately, I raised my right hand and said that I could wash the dishes. The leader smiled at me, walked over to me and patted me on the back.
Then the leader asked, “Who wants to help Tim wash the dishes?”
Nobody raised their hand.
The leader looked at this guy and asked, “Hey, Hank, why don’t you help Tim wash the dishes.”
Hank replied with a look of disgust, “Now that is not a Christ-like thing to say.” Which meant he didn’t want to wash the dishes.
So the leader said, “Well, Hank, if you don’t want to wash the dishes then go back outside.” And Hank left the mission.
I just about couldn’t believe what I had heard. Washing the dishes is a very simple, easy job. And your hands get cleaned in the process. Hank got a free meal and couldn’t wash the dishes. Ingratitude comes in different wrappers.
I was very grateful that that Christian mission let me stay there out of the cold for one night. They preached a good message the evening before, I had a great supper, I was able to take a shower and sleep in a warm bed and then have an excellent breakfast the next morning. If someone wants me to wash the dishes, then I’ll wash dishes till the cows come home!
Once I was hitchhiking through Pennsylvania and this guy picked me up. He had a used auto dealership and asked me if I wanted to help drive a car from one town to the next. I said, no problem. Then he said, let’s go to this mission and get some lunch. He usually recruited guys from that mission to drive cars for him.
So we signed in at this mission–I believe it was in York, Pennsylvania. I was the last guy in line and the guy ahead of me was definitely a street person. He had a real bad attitude. He kept complaining about the food: “I don’t like this crap. Why do I have eat this junk? Don’t you guys know how to cook a meal?” And words to that effect.
So I went through the line and thanked everyone for the great meal and smiled at everyone. Redemption sometimes happens in soup lines.
That street person didn’t pay for his meal, didn’t prepare it, didn’t volunteer to help in anyway, but he sure complained to everyone there about the food. Then go outside and eat grass!
Nobody there asked me to help wash the dishes, so I hung out with the used auto guy for a while and then moseyed out west on U.S 30.
[Originally published by Digihitch.com]
“I believe the best definition of man is the ungrateful biped.”