24 November 2008

parking lot

I dislike parking lots in the holidays its a mad house.

As I was leaving one today, I noticed a women sitting on the corner with a sign asking for help. I had to stop right next to her to wait for the others cars to pass. As I was waiting I felt this awkwardness and feeling of not knowing what to do. I thought of these videos and and how they show that Jesus could be that homeless man sitting there and we might of walked past him and not even given him something to eat.

Well I did that today. I know, I know sounds so 'unchristian...as I was driving away I looked in my rear view mirror feeling this disgust in my stomach because I didn't do anything for her. As I watched a little boy giving her some money and a bag filled with stuff.....I could of done the same but I didnt.

...I kept driving and then I thought of my mom telling me this past Sunday about Matthew 25 and the scripture "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." I felt so condemned. I drove away not even looking at the lady..Didn't even offer her the brand new water bottle I had sitting in my car.

How many times do we walk by these people and think to our selves "well they can go out and get a job instead of standing there on the corner etc.etc." What happened if that was Jesus we were walking by and didn't even dare look at? A friend of mine has always wanted to invite them to dinner with us but she always get the responses 'no' its just unsafe or thinks she's crazy.

Or how about when we give..when we give of our tithes or to this homeless man or women...or homeless shelter we make sure we have enough to get our pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks right after?

I know that we have to be 'wise' with our money and people use the excuse well we have to make sure we take care of our bills and monthly expenses etc. but doesn't the Lord call us to give and give all of that we have to help others?I mean since when did the meaning "give" have so many constraints? Aren't we suppose to 'TRUST IN THE LORD' with everything...including our finances?

I think for the most part we all fall in this pot...especially me. If giving now comes with so many restraints...aren't we living then Luke warm? Jesus spent time with the homeless...I am sure when he dined with them He wasn't thinking 'Oh! it's just unsafe'...Why do we do it now? Why did I do it????

If only we could be more like the early church....here is a verse to think about.

James 2:15-17: "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."


smalls said...

i like your heart.

buuuut... i never give money to the homeless.

i think it is an encouragement to bad behavior.

i think cultivating relationships with these people is very important and more valuable than giving them money, i mean think about it... do you remember every single time that your parents gave you money?? shoot i dont. why not leave a lasting impression?? (i cant remember) but wasnt it Jesus who said give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime?? right?? i think..

and wasn't it also Jesus who healed the man that had been begging forever and he said "pick up your mat and go"??
I dont think Jesus is all for enabling beggers to continue begging.
There is a search that we are all set on, each one of us born with these unique talents and we get a life time to look deep within ourselves and discover them... i dont want to deprive anyone of that search.

in no way am i saying the guilt you felt was misplaced, i think you are a true person who feels sympathy better than most people do, and for that i truly do love you.

ys said...

this is always going to be a dilemma.

as smalls said, it may drive those people to be more dependent on handouts if they find it they can survive out of it.

this is substantiated, especially where i am living, by the fact that this has become an industry itself where syndicates hire people to beg or able-bodied people disguised themselves as disabled or injured.

so sometimes, with all these uncertainties plus the need for us to sustain ourselves above all so that we can care for our loved ones, we are pain at heart whether to give or not to give.

there are definitely genuine people out there needing help.

how we help them may not necessary be of material kinds or even direct effort.

a random, natural act of kindness goes a long way rather than a forced one.

Glenn said...

Nice post Kim.
Here's me thinking out loud:
I used to be rather distraught about the "give or not to give" question. I wanted a "yes" or "no" answer. I wrestled with issues like "smalls" brought up. But I also wrestled with the clear Bible verses and the pang in my own conscience that Kim mentioned.
I still don't have a black and white answer.
BUT - I've noticed that just seeing a homeless person somehow evaluates the condition of my own heart rather succinctly. Some days I am moved with compassion, and I either give $, prayers, or my own precious time in relationship. Those days are in the minority, unfortunately. And some days I feel hurried, annoyed for the "distraction" of the homeless during my busy day, or think accusatory thoughts about how they probably would waste my precious money on beer. It is those moments that I think the Lord uses the homeless to plumbline our own selfishness and misguided motives. They are a constant reminder that this world is not okay; a consistent oppurtunity to redirect our time and money into things that matter; a prophetic mirror showing our own poorness in spirit. Are we so different than they?
I guess I am saying that we probably need the poor more than they need us. It's easier for them to inherit the Kingdom, rely on God, pray, and know their own depravity. We - we buy pumpkin spice lattes with our extra $ and struggle to fit God into our schedule of important events.
End of out loud thoughts.

Anonymous said...

love this.

i always feel a tug on my heart. one day pastor said that we should give to them if we feel we can and not worry about what they do with the money (or whatever you give them-i prefer to give a drink from Starbucks to warm them up). once you've given to them the rest is between them and God so for me that makes every circumstance of the whole situation null and void. i completely agree with your view, 100%. i don't see it as condoning the behavior, i see it as just us striving to evermore see this world through His eyes and be more like Jesus. when all is said and done, like everything else, it's truly the Lord's battle. i'm glad you wrote this...this subject stirs the soul.