Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tomatoes and Wrinkles and Beggars, Oh My!

Part III - Beggars

I was at a stoplight and in the median was a filthy beggar with one leg, a wheelchair and sign that said, “I love Jesus and I am hungry.”

Several years ago, I decided that if I had any cash or change with me (there are times I do not, and I’m not handing out credit cards) I would give something to every beggar I come across. I also determined to contribute something to every Salvation Army bell ringer I pass by during the holidays. I am sure there have been exceptions, but I try to make good on my commitment.

You must understand. I’ve never been accused of being a compassionate person. In general, I figure if I work for my money, you can work for yours. If I manage to provide for myself, so can you.

But beggars are different. They have no hope that tomorrow will be a better day. Perhaps they’ve “had their moments.” I can’t pretend to imagine what their life is like. Blind, crippled, mentally incompetent, hopeless. The latter, perhaps, being the most debilitating of all.

They most likely will waste my dollar on something I would prefer they not. They probably will not tithe to the church or put a part of it away for a rainy day. Chances are that they will not buy nourishing food. That’s their decision. My decision is to share a tiny bit of all that’s been given to me.

Lesson learned: I gave my dollar or two, not because he was hungry or even because he loved Jesus. I gave my dollar because I have hope of having more.

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