There is a corner along the way that almost always has someone standing there holding a sign saying something like, “anything helps” or “God Bless you.” My initial thought is always that I don’t have anything to give them. I don’t carry cash and so I drive by doing nothing.
Somehow growing up in this culture I have learned that you can’t give someone money “because they are just going to go buy things to feed an addiction.“
What am I teaching my kids about helping the homeless? We all say actions speak louder than words:
I am teaching them to do nothing.
Then there was that one morning when I pulled up to that corner and a man was standing there. He caught my eye and I caught his. All I could see was kindness and I was moved with compassion. I didn’t have any cash on me. I felt unprepared and wished beyond anything else that I just had something in my purse to give him. I had to literally drive ahead a few feet so that I could look past him to see if cars were coming, literally…look past him.
I drove across the intersection and tears flowed down my face.
We can look that person directly in the eye, greet them with a smile and say, “Have a wonderful day!” as we pass them a fresh, warm meal packaged in yellow paper where they get to choose the kind of bread that they like.
I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to walk into that Subway and order those $5 gift cards.
Last week we had the opportunity to pass out some of those cards. I told my kids about the verses in Matthew 25:37-40 where it says, “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”
I told them that we give out gift cards because people are hungry and because we care.
We can do something.
In our family we create a budget based on what is most important to us…what we value. We want it to say, we feed our family and others…we care for our family and others. Now I feel like it does…it includes those who are standing on a corner in the middle of a MN winter. Have you ever experienced a MN winter? My heart breaks to see anyone in these situations…it breaks!
They say “what can one person do?”
“What can one family do?” I say we can feed the hungry, clothe those who need clothes, care for orphans, welcome strangers, visit the lonely, and love the marginalized.
TOGETHER we can change this world!