Remember school food? Rectangle pieces of pizza, mystery tenderloins, and mixed fruit with one cherry? I hated school food, with one exception: the cookies. The elementary school I attended growing up in Iowa had the best cookies. Oatmeal cookies with some government milk made for a good dessert.
At the end of the serving line always stood an older woman, wearing plastic gloves, handing out one cookie per student. I would beg her- beg her - to let me have two cookies. There were always extras, always students who for some reason didn’t want a cookie. I would explain, rationalize, and insist that giving me two cookies would not end the world. Yet she would always say the same thing, "If I do it for you, I have to do it for everyone."
We all know that is not true. She could have just done it for me and me alone. She could have just given an extra cookie to the kids who asked politely. But she fell back on what so many people say - I can’t do it for everyone, so I won’t do it for you. While that might work handing out cookies, it is a terrible philosophy of life.
We know that life is not fair. So do not strive to be fair. Strive to do what is right, in the moment you are in. If a neighbor is hungry, don’t tell them that since you can't feed the whole world you won’t feed them. Feed them. If a friend needs a place to crash for a day to work through his marriage don't tell him he can’t because if you did it for him you would have to do it for everyone. Be compassionate to the person in front of you. Just because I cannot share my faith with the world does not mean I ought not witness to some Good News to the person I see everyone morning at Starbucks.
I think of Jesus healing the blind and raising the dead. He did not let the endless mass of human need prevent him from ministry to the person in front of him. And He did not do what was fair. He did what was right. And so should we.