Have you ever been driving and you see someone standing in the median with a sign? Usually they are there asking for money because they are out of work or homeless. Well, today I caught myself doing something that I have probably been doing for years and just realized I don’t like this part of who I am. So I am going to change it.
As I drove up to the stop light, I contemplated cutting through the parking lot instead of waiting to make my right turn so as to avoid the awkwardness of having the guy standing there looking pathetic and down on his luck. I settled with being in the far lane and having the car next to me block him from my vision.
But that blasted thing called peripheral vision wouldn’t let me forget about him. I could see him walking down the median looking at the cars in the left lane. I only imagined what the look on his face was. One of hope, disappointment, or a mix of both. I began to feel sorrow entering my heart.
I started to really think about why I tended to react in this way whenever I saw someone asking for money. I have several reasons as to why it might be my natural instinct. I have grown up in a world that believes everyone has to earn what they have and shouldn’t have life handed to him. A world where “if you give them money they will just go use it on booze and drugs, best not to waste it.”
I didn’t have any money at the time, and was on my way somewhere so I didn’t have time to stop and get food or cash. But how many times did I drive by someone when I had a couple of bucks that were just going to be used on a Reese’s peanut butter cup that I could do without? More times than I care to admit. I have conditioned my heart to be cold and calloused towards these people. I ignore them before I even realize what I am doing.
This is the world that I would like to live in. “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind..” Luke 4:13. How am I supposed to invite people like that into my life when I am ignoring their very needs? I want to give without expecting to be given anything in return. Will my money be used for purposes I did not intend? Absolutely! Will relationships be more likely to form because of kindness and love? God-willing.
I cannot control what the needy and hurting will do with the gifts that I offer, but how will they ever be blessed by it if I never give it to them?
My challenge for myself and for anyone reading this: Love people regardless of where they are in life, whether it is on a median at a stoplight or the neighbor across the street. I never know what kind of impact my gifts may have on someone’s life. Pray over the gifts that I do give, that they would be a part of restoration and renewal. Pray that my gifts would be part of a miracle.