What would you do if you were given a day where you could do anything? No boundaries, money is no object, the sky is the limit.
Usually, when we run errands and eat out at lunch, I use the drive-thru. Due to routine extermination at our apartment, I had time to kill so we ate at the restaurant. On this day, I had a friend with me (a friend without a vehicle who needed a ride to run errands of her own). As we ate, a raggedy man came in hunched over from the weight of the bag he carried. I watched him, in that “not watching” sort of way. He counted his pocket change over and over. As I threw away the trash and asked for a bag to take the rest of the food home (I get the special that includes 20 chicken tenders, two sides, and a gallon of tea – they nearly always put in extra chicken), I felt compelled to do something. I put some of the chicken and a couple of rolls in the box with the rest of the fries and gave it to him. He tried to tell me he didn’t have enough money. I told him I already bought it, that we had enough, and he could have it – FREE. It took a few minutes before he started eating, as though he did not know whether to trust the situation. I do not get these opportunities often either because we take our food home or because we have “just enough” in our living life one paycheck at a time. We are comfortable, our needs are met, but we are not wealthy by most standards. The rest of the day, I felt this amazing high from helping someone else, someone truly in great need.
I do not tell this story to “toot my own horn” or receive validation. I tell this story to show you my heart. My heart is in helping others, as is my husband’s heart. We strive to teach our children compassion and the importance of helping others. My husband and I seem to draw people that need a friend during difficult times. So often, we wish we could do more to help. If I had a day with no boundaries, I would find a big house with plenty of rooms for all of these friends to come and stay, as long as they needed. Since this is a magical post, the house would be filled with enough of everything to meet everyone’s needs – food, medical care, clothing, safety. This house could be a home, a haven, for those we know that need a way out of an abusive relationship or cannot afford both medical expenses and rent or people who need a healthy support system. Until my big house dream becomes a reality, I will settle for days when I am able to help in small ways.
While in Germany, we traveled to many places. So much of the captivating history and architecture of Europe is found in their church buildings. These ornate structures cost millions of dollars to build, restore, and maintain. Often, at the doorways or on the steps leading up to the cathedrals, you will find beggars, some crippled, all dirty and ragged – in great contrast to the building they lean on for support. In higher tourist areas, like Pisa, panhandlers, vendors, and beggars are not allowed within a certain proximity to the historical buildings. My husband would have loved more time to explore these buildings and learn more about their “mysteries” (some contain crypts and artifacts). The children were much too impatient, active, and loud to enjoy such exploration for hours at a time. I welcomed the reprieve, because of the overwhelming sadness of the contrast from the very poor outside to the very richly decorated inside. We help when we are able, even in other countries. We occasionally gave these individuals some Euro change or our to-go boxes. Sometimes people react in fear to the indigent citizens lurking in the doorway. The only time we really experienced “fear” during our travels involved the taxis in Italy.
When my husband and I were in college, our school hosted the World Missions Workshop. The theme that year was “Who will be Jesus” taken from the lyrics of this song:
He came home from work last night, to find that she is gone, Now He’s spending his first Sunday Sitting in the pew alone, There are whispers all around him; His heart breaks in two, He’s wondering who will reach out And help him make it through, She has a reputation like the woman at the well, The only love she ever knew was the kind she buys and sells, But her thirsty heart is searching for a love that will be true, The Savior cries for her to See Himself in me and you, Who will be Jesus to her? Who’ll show the love that’s Commanded in His word? Will she see in us the mighty God we serve? Who will Be Jesus to her? Wounded People everywhere, And when they look at us, do they see Jesus there? Who will be Jesus to Them? Who’ll show the love that Restores them again? Oh, they do not need a judge, They need a friend, who will Be Jesus to Them?
Written by: CARROLL, BRUCE/WILBURN, C. A.
Instead of focusing on the ways I am unable to help, I choose to focus on the small ways I CAN make a difference. As one of the better Presidents (Ronald Reagan) said, “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” Jesus said, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you also do for me.” (Matthew 25:40). He is the originator of The Golden Rule (Luke 6:31). Later, the Apostle Paul continued this teaching: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4). How can you help the least of these today? Are you willing to be Jesus to someone with a need?
“Be careful how you live; you will be the only Bible some people ever read.” ~ William Thoms