Today, this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for God’s gentle reminders/nudges.
Have you ever been approached by a stranger asking for money and you are not sure what to do? After all, you don’t want to be gullible and fall victim to a con man, right?
I faced this dilemma earlier this week…in a sort of amusing way.
I was out grocery shopping. I was headed out of the store, and I noticed a Hispanic women in need of help. I was all set to jump in when someone else beat me to it. This got me all excited. I was like “this is what it means to help a stranger.” We don’t need more government interference, we need individuals to step up and be the hands and feet of Jesus. I was kind of puffed up, feeling good, and patting myself of the back (even though I didn’t actually do anything….but I was going to…counts right?).
As I was walking through the parking lot I noticed a man standing by a car. He looked pretty beat up and had an oxygen tank and nose piece. He asked me if I could help him out with gas money. I was pretty sure the car we were standing by was not his. I was pretty sure the oxygen tank was empty. I was pretty sure this was a con.
My automatic response, “I don’t have any cash.” In my defense, it is rare for me to have cash and I honestly forgot I had a little. But as I was walking away, God pinged my heart, “You have $5.” I would like to say I gave the money to the mad without reservations, but that would be dishonest. I gave the money to the man knowing full well it was a likely con.
Why did I give it?
Because I would much rather help someone who doesn’t need it than to turn my back on the one who truly does need my help.
My pastor recently told me,
Sometimes you have to feed the greedy in order to feed the truly needy.
When it was all over, what just happened hit me full force.
I almost missed it. I was so busy patting myself on the back for thinking about helping someone, I almost missed my opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Right before I met this man, I was all about helping someone in need. I was so excited about being the hands and feet of Jesus, but then I almost walked by this man with my hand clutching my wallet.
Yes, he may have been lying, but maybe, just maybe he was the truly needy; maybe just maybe I was the hands and feet of Jesus to him that day.
As Christians, we must remember that our job is to love, not judge. Many of us have no idea what it is like to live off the help and generosity of others. Yes, I understand that our heart can become hardened when we see people taking advantage of the system. We see it at food pantries, Christmas toy giveaways. and on and on it goes. But we also see people who are thankful for the help. We see kids being blessed with food and toys. We cannot let ourselves become so jaded that we fail to love. After all, we can do all kinds of things for the cause of Christ, but if we do not love, it will be for naught.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NKJ): Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Whatever the reason, I am thankful for God’s gentle reminder that we are to help others whenever and wherever we can. We do it out of love for them and out of love for Christ. Yes, some may take advantage of our kindness, but it is much better to feed the greedy than let someone in need go hungry.
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,