Wilder sat beside the old black man who had a little bit of food hanging off the little white curls of his beard. The evening sun cast the shadow of the downtown church over them as they ate from the little styrofoam boxes the food line handed out.
"You're always here, every night." Old Bobby told him. "And you always sit with us after you're done serving. But . . ." Old Bobby glanced down at Wilder's hand. "You're married? And you look young so I assume you haven't been married a long time like I was."
"Yes . . ." Wilder looked down at his food.
"Where is your wife while you are here?"
"Um, she goes to these cooking classes and hangs out with friends and goes hiking and stuff while I'm here."
"Doesn't she want you to join her?"
Wilder hesitated. "She asked me if I would a few times."
"So why don't you?"
"I just-- I just don't think she's spending her time on eternal things. I want to be helping people in need with my free time."
"And you don't think spending time with your wife is meeting a need? She needs your love like we do and she is no less important than us. There will always be random people like me coming in and out of your life, but by marrying her you promised to serve her first."
"But there are people who don't even have enough to eat."
"We will survive."
"Sometimes it's pretty hard."
"Am I not hard to serve?" He pointed at the bandage around his belly where the messy wound from a recent surgery still festered. Old Bobby continued, "Did you serve at the place before you were married?"
"Yes, for several years."
Then you have completed your work as a single man. Now your main duty is to serve the needs of your wife. Go home and enjoy the love of your youth. Serve her even better than you serve us, for she is the object of beauty and love God has put into your life.
Who in your life have you neglected to serve well because you don't think of them as a needy population. A parent? A spouse? A sibling? How can you serve them better today?
Raw Spoon, 4-13-2021