Wow! I was impressed today!
There was a lady in the grocery store parking lot asking for money for food. You told her no and walked off, even glancing at the kids she had with her as you did so.
The grocery cart you had full of food made this all the more wonderful. AND the cross you had hanging around your neck was a special bonus.
Did you hear the older child plead her about how hungry she was as you walked away? I cackled with glee when I saw a tear slip down Mom's cheek.
You just make my work easier and easier. The little girl saw your cross, you know. Now she thinks people who wear those things are just plain mean. She is only 6.
Matthew 25:31-46 talks about ignoring those who are hungry, thirsty and in prison:
"Then the righteous will answer him (Jesus), 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did
we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe
you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit
Then the King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you
did for one
of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for
Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you
cursed....for I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was
thirsty and you
gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not
invite me in, I
needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in
prison and you did
not look after me.'
They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we....not help you?'
He will reply, '....whatever you did not do for one of the least of these,
you did not do for me.'"
Helping those who are less fortunate is just like helping Christ himself. (The Bible says so. See above.)
I have been approached many times by people wanting/needing money. (My husband says I have "one of those faces" - I guess it's because I smile a lot.) There are times when I simply don't have money on me or cannot help right at that moment, but I will actually give out my number (cell number) or church info (we have a food pantry) and not leave these people hanging.
I have given groceries out. I help as much as I can.
It is our duty to help those in need. Anyone who reads Matthew 25:31-46 and can tell me otherwise with a straight face is living in a fantasy land.
I can hear you now: "How do you know that the person won't spend the money on drugs or booze or whatever?"
I have several responses to that:
- There might be physical signs of drug abuse in the person asking. In that case, giving cash may not be a good idea. However, that doesn't mean you cannot help. Give a gift certificate or offer to purchase groceries for them. if there is a food pantry at your church, offer to help them through that. DON'T ignore the person or send him/her away empty-handed.
- Sometimes I am prompted by the Holy Spirit to give money. Not always. I have emptied my wallet before and given it to someone in a parking lot, along with one of my cards. She broke down and cried in the middle of the lot. So did I. Follow how the Holy Spirit moves you. He knows more than you do. You will be blessed.
- Sometimes I am prompted by the Holy Spirit to NOT give cash, but in each case, I was prompted to do something different - a gift certificate, refer him/her to the food pantry, etc. Follow your leading from the Holy Spirit and do what you should. Do NOT ignore the person or not offer some sort of help.
Now, I will address one concern someone has asked me about before: safety.
In each case, I have been approached in places where the crime rate is pretty high, but I never felt threatened.
However (and this is where prayer and following what the Holy Spirit is telling you is important), if I felt like I was being warned in the Spirit about something, I would heed whatever I felt was being impressed upon me. In that instance, I might simply give a card with the church inforjmation on it and invite the person to seek help there. I don't know. If I get in that situation, I will write about it. :)
The bottom line is this: In any circumstance, there IS a way to help.
So please do.