Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

“Excuse me sir, would you like something to eat?”

Image courtesy of Barry Knain, via

Sally Martindale-Tucker writes about the blessing that follows crossing the line of fear.

We had lived in our home for over a decade and I had seen him walking past our house every day of those 11 years. He clearly lived on the street. He was dirty, dishevelled, had growths on his face and filthy dreadlocks. He never once made eye contact with me or asked me for anything, for which I was grateful, as he looked scary. He always looked in the dustbins for food. A time came, three years ago, when I began to feel distinctly uncomfortable that I was able to watch another human being searching for food in bins, and turn away without offering him anything to eat from my well-stocked larder.

I felt God speaking to me, saying, “Go and offer him something to eat.” I was afraid and did not have the courage to do it. I kept finding reasons why I could not do it. Under all my rationalising, I was just plain scared. Fear traps people, and I knew that the longer I avoided confronting that fear, the harder my heart would become, and the harder it would become to hear and respond to God in the other areas of my life. The next time I saw him, I chose to walk up to this man I had ‘known’ for eleven years, and offer him a meal. “Excuse me sir, would you like something to eat?” And with those words, a miracle happened.

He looked up at me, and for the first time in 11 years I saw his eyes. I truly saw the image of God in his eyes. It was a breath-taking moment. A moment in my life that I will never forget. He smiled and mouthed something I understood to be a ‘thank you’. I realised why he had never asked me for anything before … he was clearly mute, unable to speak. Something profoundly life-changing happened in those moments — for both of us. He now rings our gate bell every day and I gladly offer him food. He looks like a different man and I am a different woman.

What a privilege to serve someone in whose face I see the image of God. Perfect love truly drives out fear.

– Sally Martindale-Tucker lives in Rondebosch with her creative hubby, Gavin, and their four wonderful children. She is a full-time mom and is passionate about South Africa and seeing God’s Kingdom come in all areas of society and daily life.

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5 thoughts on ““Excuse me sir, would you like something to eat?”

  1. thank you for this encouragement

  2. stroudonline on said:

    Inspired! Thanks for this story and your Christlike example, Sally! The thing I have always loved about you is that I know that my making mention of you as an example will embarrass you…as I know you as such a humble person. Bless you….:-)

  3. Wow! Sally, what a thought provoking article. You evidently continue to be a beautiful example of the incarnation of Jesus that I met at varsity. God Bless, Nigel

  4. May God bless you Sally and all your wonderful family, it is at times like this that we really live in the Kingdom and that we can build God’s kingdom here on earth, it begins in the here and now and for all eternity.

  5. well done Sally 🙂
    It always seems to work like that – you think you are the one giving and you end up receiving something more valuable

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