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Focus: Helping others
Luke 6:30 (NKJV) Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
A couple of months ago, there was a day when I was walking from my parked car down a sidewalk in the city toward a building where I had to do some business. There was a park bench near the building and a man was sitting on the bench, who may have been homeless. As I was passing by, he asked me if I had any spare change. I was in a hurry and didn’t think I had much of anything, so I said “Sorry,” and kept walking.
When I came back out of the building, he was still sitting there. I got into my car and drove away, but I didn’t stop thinking about him. I felt guilty that I hadn’t even checked to see if I had anything to give him. I knew I didn’t have any cash that day…but I might have had some coins.
The scripture came to my mind from Hebrews 13:1-3 (NKJV), “Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.”
My mind was also on the scripture from Matthew 25:44-45 (NKJV) that says, “Then they also will answer Him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?” Then He will answer them, saying, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”
Isn’t it amazing how almost everything in the Bible can be related to doing for others what we would like to have done for us? The message repeats itself over and over.
Anyway, as I drove away that day, I was thinking about the man and wondering if he was an angel—or Jesus. I felt as though I might have missed my ‘moment’ and maybe I’d never see that man again. Maybe I had ‘missed the Lord.’
Isn’t it crazy how we sometimes work so hard for ‘the kingdom’, doing everything we’re asked to do in church and so on—and then a real opportunity comes to do something for ‘the least of our brothers’—and we fall flat.
Well, several days later, ‘the man’, or ‘the angel’, or ‘Jesus’ showed up again. I saw him on a bench that was some distance from where I usually park—and where he was, wasn’t on the way to where I had to go…so I didn’t approach him. I had thought about him several times since I saw him the first time, but once again, I was in a hurry. The same thing happened another time. I saw him, but he wasn’t near to where I was, so I let it go.
Today, I parked my car where I usually park it and saw the man was back on the bench where I had seen him the first time. Before I got out of my car, I quickly thought about whether I had any cash or coins in my purse…almost excited that I was going to get to help in some small way this time. I knew I had some change and I remembered a dollar bill stuffed in among some receipts in the outside zippered pocket of my purse, on the side next to my body.
I looked at him as I stepped onto the sidewalk. He smiled and asked me how I was doing. I said, “Fine, how are you?” Without answering, he said, “Would you have any spare change?” I quickly said, “I think I do” and opened the zippered pocket of my purse to see what I could come up with. I saw the edge of a dollar bill and as I pulled it out, I saw another dollar that I didn’t know I had. I gave him both dollars and he softly said, “God bless you.” I looked him in the eye and said, “God bless you, too,” and then went about my business.
I don’t know if he was still on the bench when I left the building, or not. I forgot to look. But I was grateful to have had another chance to correct my mistake of not taking the time to consider if I had anything that might help him the first time I saw him, and the other times when he was a little distance away.
Some people would say, “Oh, he’s probably an addict and he’ll just go spend your money on booze or cigarettes.” I suppose that’s possible, but the Bible doesn’t say anything about giving to someone in need if they are going to use the money for the right purpose, does it?
I’ve given a few dollars or more to plenty of other people who asked me in the past, and sometimes I give to the people with cardboard signs asking for help. I see it this way, it may be just ‘a person’, but it could be ‘an angel’, or maybe ‘Jesus’.
Declaration: I will find new strength by helping those who ask—in whatever way I can.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.