I stepped outside my office and tilted my head toward the sun. I unbuttoned my sweater and let the warmth melt away the busyness of my morning.
Awww…such a beautiful day! Too bad I can’t stay out longer.
I needed to go to the mall and pick up some vitamins before heading back to my desk, so I walked briskly down the street. Others were out taking advantage of the amazing fall day. There wouldn’t be many left before the snow arrives.
The birds chirped from the trees. I hummed a tune.
Then I saw him. A man dressed in a haphazard manner sitting on a bench. His shaggy appearance told me instantly he needed money.
I put my head down so I wouldn’t make eye contact. Maybe he wouldn’t ask.
“Miss, can you spare some change?” he said in a soft voice.
I pretended I didn’t hear him and picked up my pace. After all, I didn’t have much time and needed to get back to work. Right?
Then I remembered.
The youth in our church recently returned from a mission trip in Toronto. They spent a week helping the homeless. How dare I act this way after hearing what they did?
I hung my head and silently prayed for forgiveness.
I reached the mall and bought my vitamins. After I did, I took change from my wallet and put it in my hand.
Maybe, just maybe, he would still be there on my way back.
This time, I walked with my head up. I prayed he would still be there. I knew God wanted me to help. And, I wanted to!
Reaching the intersection, I saw him sitting on the bench. Good.
I approached him, held out my hand, and dropped the change in his.
“Thank you,” he said. Then he smiled. Even with missing teeth, his smile captivated me.
“You’re welcome,” I said.
I walked the rest of the way with a spring in my step. His smile made me think I had given him a million dollars, not just a toonie.
It felt good.
I used first person in the above because it’s my story. I’m ashamed to say most of the time when I see a homeless person I do my best to avoid them. This time, God tugged at my heart and I knew I had to follow His lead.
What about you? Are you like me and run the other way when you see someone in need? Are we too quick to judge them?
I would say yes. Shame on us!
We don’t know their story of how they ended up homeless. Yes, it could be from their own abuse, but maybe not. Maybe they’ve tried everything to get off the street, but just couldn’t.
If we held out our hand to the needy trusting God would use us, what would happen?
I imagine they would be blessed. And then, we would be doubly blessed.
Do it today! I dare you.
Deuteronomy 15:10-12 (NIV)
Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open handed toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.