Would You Walk By?

It was a cold winter’s day that Sunday. The parking lot to the temple was filling up quickly. I noticed as I got out of my car that fellow temple members were whispering among themselves as they walked to the temple.

As I got closer I saw a man leaned up against the wall outside the temple. He was almost lying down as if he was asleep. He had on a long trench coat that was almost in shreds and a hat topped his head, pulled down so you could not see his face. He wore shoes that looked 30 years old, too small for his feet with holes all over them, his toes stuck out. I assumed this man was homeless, and asleep, so I walked on by through the doors of the temple. We all fellowshipped for a few minutes and someone brought up the man lying outside. People snickered and gossiped but no one bothered to ask him to come in, including me.

A few moments later the temple proceedings began. We all waited for the Pandit to take his place and to start the prayers, when the doors to the temple opened. In came the homeless man walking down the aisle with his head down. People gasped and whispered and made faces. He made his way down the aisle and up into the front he took off his hat and coat. My heart sank. There stood our Pandit. He was the homeless man. No one said a word. The Pandit took his prayer book and laid it on the stand. “Folks, I don’t think I have to tell you what I am preaching about today.” Then he started singing the words to this song. “If I can help some body as I pass along. If I can cheer somebody with a word or song. If I can show somebody that he’s travelling wrong. Then my living shall not be in vain.”