Thursday, June 18, 2009

LOVING the OVERLOOKED and a Morsel of Kindess

~A MORSEL OF KINDNESS?~

One day last week I visited our local bookseller. If possible I would spend an entire day there wandering through the perfectly aligned rows of beautifully illustrated, well written books. Since I'm not afforded that much idle time I choose instead to visit the store about once every couple of weeks...more if I'm seeking out something special. I love to sit in their comfy chairs and prop my feet up on one of their cushy footstools while relaxing the minutes (if not hours) away! Books comfort me...being around them just makes me feel good...maybe even a tad bit smarter! More often than not I grab myself a cup of Cappuccino before paying for my latest good read and then drive back towards the sanctuary of both hearth and home. This is a sweet part of my life! My good, happy, contented, wonderful LIFE and truthfully~I sorta love it!

It was upon exiting the parking lot of the book shoppe that I saw him. Just to the right of me, he stood there alone while holding a sign that said...

"PLEASE HELP - Will Work For Food - God Bless"

Now~I try to be a nice person! I'm more than benevolent at times. But, I must admit...I WAS perturbed and irritated when I saw the scribbled words sprawled across the dirty cardboard... On the inside I was even thinking...

"Gosh~ Another beggar man!!??? They are everywhere these days! Get a job and quit expecting me to hand over my hard-earned money to you so you can go and drink it away!"

Truthfully I wanted to pull my car into the nearest right hand lane to avoid meeting the beggar eye to eye. But since the shortest drive back to my house was only possible by going left, I had no choice but to steer my car directly in front of the man...

Now...as hard as I tried NOT to look at the wayfaring stranger beside me, I couldn't help it. For, regardless of WHAT it was that brought this fellow human being to this questionable fork in the road, I could be thankful for at least one thing at the moment...I wasn't him! And, his burdens were not mine...

Or were they?

The spirit of God tugged a bit at my heart that afternoon as I patiently waited (begged) for the red light to change to green. I was languishing in my air-conditioned, late model SUV, suffering in silence when I found myself begin to slowly turn my head in his direction.

"Why do you judge him so harshly, Rebecca?" I heard an inner voice say...

The man's face was swollen and his hands were gnarled. Although he looked much older I decided he was probably born not more than a year or two before me. His shoes were ripped and worn and his hat cast only a small shadow over his noticeably blue eyes...

"You can spare a dollar or two, can't you?" the inner voice whispered...

"No, I can't! Not again! Turn GREEN, Light!"

With only a quick glance my way the beggar man offered up what seemed like a sincere smile and then walked directly past my car to the waving hand behind me... Before he could again shuffle by my car's window, I was rescued by the changing signal...

For whatever it is worth I felt terribly guilty during the entire fifteen minute drive back to my home. My shame didn't come from keeping the few dollars safely hidden within my pocket. No...it came from the attitude I'd formed long before I even turned my car onto the busy street...the unspoken words that said "I'm better than you! More of a success! While you beg...I work!"

My thoughts were the shackles...

I heard it said once that servanthood requires little skill and certainly no degree. Regardless of our gifts, strengths, training or church attendance, we all can love the lost.

When we share joy with the lonely child, befriend the foreign student, speak kindly to the welfare mother, minister to the suffering or give alms to the poor, we show our love for the Lord. After all, he dresses in the garb of the forgotten...

"Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me~you did it to me". (Matthew 25-40-MSG).

Blessings to you as you lay your thoughts and attitudes at the feet of the Most High...Rebecca

20 comments:

Eclectic Pink Rose said...

I can totally relate to your post, I work in a downtown area and this is commonplace to see. I have helped them sometimes, I have not made eye contact at times, it's really a hard one. The thing that pulls at my heart and tugs every morning is when we drive pass this one area that is like a soup kitchen, the street is literally covered with homeless people, and every single morning, my eyes turn to look at each and every one of them. I sometimes wish I could just help them all. Your words are beautiful and so honest and heartfelt as usual my friend.
♥ Teresa

Marilyn said...

Dearest Rebecca,
I am sorry to say I am guilty of this also. It shames me to say this. I hate judgemental people but I find myself judging others to much.
You quote from Matthew 25-40 brought me up-short to be more benevolent & kind to others.
Thank You so much my Dear Friend for helping me start my day out with what I hope will be a better person.
Love,
Marilyn

Dixie said...

Rebecca.. this post touched my heartstrings... There was a story written several years ago about a poor begger who entered a church service and the peoples reaction to his presence... only one person welcomed him and at that moment he transformed into the Lord. Now, it was a story of fantasy, but it was a story about the scripture in Matthew that you mentioned. Since reading that story years ago, I've never passed one of those "beggers" without an offering. Sometimes a dollar, sometimes more... a couple of times, the hamburger I just bought for lunch. Some have told me I'm just being scammed or encouraging them to continue.. and I say "there but by the Grace of God"... I've been given so many "God Bless You"'s from these poor people... seen tears come to their eyes... it's a dollar. Not much to me... maybe everything to them. My only regrets... when I have to keep my window rolled up because I don't have any cash in my wallet...

I hope the next time you get the opportunity, you'll roll down your window and share the blessings that the Lord has given you.

God Bless... Dixie

Anonymous said...

Wow, this was powerful and also describes feelings I've had. I am often motivated to do what I do because of fear as well. What you have written here will be played over and over in my head until I come to some personal conclusion. I've always believed if I make a decision what I'm going to do before I get in the situation then I will be more comfortable 'in' the situation. Now, I need to decide! Thank you so much for sharing this and awakening my awareness and my judgements, and my responsibilities. And, so beautifully written! God Bless you!

VINTAGE BLISS COTTAGE said...

IT SEEMS THAT THESE DAYS, UNFORTUNATELY WE ARE ALL BEGGARS. OUR ECONOMY IS HORRIBLE, THE HOUSING CRISIS, ESPECIALLY HERE IN CALIFORNIA IS NOT GOOD. MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN UNEMPLOYED SINCE LAST AUGUST, HIS TRADE OF WORK FOR CONSTRUCTION, IS NOW ALMOST NON EXISTANT. MY DAUGHTER ONCE ASKED WHY I DON'T DONATE TO THE PEOPLE IN FRONT OF STORES , YOU KNOW THE ONES WITH THE MONEY BOX AND A CHAIR THAT HAVE BEEN PLACED THERE TO "SILENTLY" BEG ALL DAY, BUT THAT I WILL DONATE TO A HOMELESS PERSON. THE DIFFERENCE TO ME IS THAT THE PERSON BEGGING WITH THAT SCRIBBLED CARDBOARD SIGN NEEDS THE MONEY AND TRUTHFULLY. I DON'T THINK ANYONE WITH AN OUNCE OF PRIDE WOULD STAND THERE TO GET MONEY FOR DRUGS AND ALCOHOL, THOSE PEOPLE ARE THE THUGS, ROBBERS AND DRUGGIES, THEY GET THEIR DRUGS FROM OTHERS, NOT FROM BEGGING. MAYBE NEXT TIME IF THE SIGN SAYS FOR FOOD, BUY THEM LUNCH. I HAVE EVEN TAKEN A HOMELESS MAN IN MY CAR, TO STARBUCKS AND SAT AND HAD COFFEE AND A MUFFIN WITH HIM, NOT CARING ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE OTHER PATRONS, LIKE ME HAD A COACH PURSE OR A SPARKLY DIAMOND RING, LATER LEARNING THAT THIS MAN WAS A VETERAN, LIKE MY GRANDFATHER, AND WAS TURNED DOWN FOR WORK, WHY, BECAUSE HE WAS OVER 63 YEARS OLD. IT ISN'T EASY TO SWALLOW THAT LUMP IN YOUR THROAT, BUT BEING RAISED AS A WELFARE CHILD, AND NOT HAVING MUCH GROWING UP, I REMEMBER WHAT IT IS TO BE HUNGRY. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO FEEL THAT. GOD BLESS- HEATHER

Barb~Bella Vista said...

Rebecca, this is uncanny since I spent some time this very morning laying some concerns at the foot of the cross. I have had some bad attitudes lately....things I am struggling with. I know that I can do nothing within myself but all things with God. Oh, mercy, how I lean on this!!!

And about book stores.....I have always said if I won the lottery, (which would be a feat since I have never purchased a lottery ticket in my life!)I would buy a bookstore. I would board up the front and buy enough food for a week. Then I would sit in the middle and read and read and read. Ha. I LOVE books!

Wonderful post!

Love, Barb

June said...

Hi Rebecca,
Because I live in a small town in a state that's population is relatively small, I don't see many people asking for help by the road. There are absolutely none in front of any of the stores I frequent. I do keep 2 five dollar bills tucked inside my purse for just such an occasion however. I have been to large cities where their are large numbers of homeless. I sometimes feel so blessed that I am in an area where I don't have to see the sufferings of others on a daily basis. I always wonder to myself, what put this person in this state? Where are his loved ones? Do they know he begs? Do they not care he begs?
Could this be me, but for the grace of God? I thank you for this post today. It has made me be more thankful for my blessings. You always know how to make me look inside and I love you for that, sweetest Rebecca.
Hugs to you,
June

Tanza said...

Ooohhh ~r~,
Another touching heartwrenching post..yikes.. We all come across this everyday, I'm sure.. Very pathetic and sad.. I try to give a dollar or two, and at times talk to these people to see why they are where they are.. Many CHOOSE to live this way,no rules no boundaries.. others are down on their luck.. I've also talked to family members of some of these people, and they say they choose the streets, so they can live as they will.. There is soo many shelters and homes these people can go to, and choose not to stay.. It's a real dilemia and not sure which way to go.. The Lord says to help the less fortunate, but yet to get up and help ourselves.. It makes my heart heavy.. We've all been in your position.. I know what you mean, and I soo try to let the Lord be the judge of all.. God help me, if he continually cast judgement on my heart at times.. I LoVe to read your thoughts.. Always makes me feel as if I need to be closer to the Lord at all times.. Thank God He is a forgiving, merciful, caring All Mighty God !! I Love my sweet friend..huggers ~tea~xo

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

OH Girl what a powerful message today my friend...I think we are all afraid of the unknown...We really want to help when we see people like this...but we also feel like maybe we are just helping them to buy drugs or drinks...I seen a guy by our K-mart store one day with an old dog and he said he needed money to feed his dog...well I went inside K-mart and got him a big bag of dog food and took it to him and girl he got mad at me...he really wanted money not dog food as he said...I just left the food and told him God bless you my friend...So it makes you stop and think some times do they just want money or will they work for it..Great post my friend...May you have a great day...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

blushing rose said...

May I give you the other side of the coin, Rebecca.

I, too, have given to many a person holding a sign 'Will work for food' OR 'I am homeless'.

One day I was driving down the road & saw 'Will work for food' ... I immediately went over to McDonald's & ordered a full meal & drink & drove it back to this man. I asked Joshua to roll down the window & called attention to the man ... he walked over. As I handed him the bag of food, he replied, 'Now what am I going to do with this?' I said 'you said you were hungry so I brought you a meal'. He replied, 'I have 5 (maybe it was 6, I forget) McDonald's meals already sitting there'. He took the food & walked away. He was very disheveled, unkempt & looked like he needed assist .. he was unfriendly & ungrateful.

Later that week our neighbor bumped into the same fella. When Paul offered to bring the man home to do some work & give him food in return ... the reply was 'I'm not working for food'.

SECOND SCENARIO ~ This was shown on a major tv magazine show on a major network, I forget which.

A very unkempt young man had a sign begging for either work or food or money ... he stayed on the street all day with his 'bucket for collections'. Someone started to watch this fella. Then they became suspicious so they decided to video him. (I don't know why, but they did). They actually had footage of this guy out on the street all day with his 'bucket & sign' collecting from the innocent, giving, loving, caring, generous public. At the end of the day, this 'poor' fella took off running down the street ... stood in front of a BMW, took off his clothes exposing designer clothes beneath, wiped off the grime, jumped in the car & left ... BUT ... the next day was right back at it again. When confronted after much surveillance, he got pretty nasty & nearly laughed at the general public ... THIS IS HOW HE MADE A LIVING. He was taking in thousands of $$ a week.

You should NOT feel guilty about your generous kind heart ... IF God had directed you & wanted you to give, your heart would have been touched, you would have given.

No guilt should you have. Hugs, Marydon

Rebecca said...

To: Mary Don..

Permit me to add something to my Post...

I think it is important for us all to remember that our hearts are NOT JUDGED by what someone does or does not do with our offerings and gifts..it is judged by our willingness to simply GIVE.

For every scammer out there I believe there are equally as many men and women who are suffering through no fault of their own. Unless we are open to hearing the voice of the Lord how will we know the difference?

Thank you for your comments...I appreciate them all...

xoRebecca

blushing rose said...

I apologize ... You are right, absolutely, but it is so sad to know that these people I mentioned make it so difficult for those that truly need the assist. It does alter our views to 'give' readily. I believe that we do hear the voice of the Lord & He directs us ... TTFN ~Marydon

A Stitch In Thyme said...

I wasn't going to post on this as right now my family is on very hard times. But maybe that is my test for the day.

As a christian I believe the better of people. That doesn't mean I am ignorant to evil do'ers. It simply means, If I follow my christian heart I am less likely to go wrong. This is all so easy for me when I take into consideration the saying I raised my kids on.

Does it hurt me....
Does it hurt someone else...
Does it break moral or civil law...

I have known money & I have known poor. I have been both. I have lived in "castle's" & "shacks". I've eaten well & i've had not much to eat. I know both sides evenly. I am not one who claims poor & money is tucked away somewhere. Nor do I flaunt the times when I have less to worry on.

The truth of the matter is, we are judge by one & only one. Our Father in Heaven guides us to righteousness & we have free will. There is no better deal than this.

It's the same as faith, it's there for the having, asking, living but gone the minute you turn a blind eye (which can apply in almost all situations) and deny.

$1.00 may not be much to many who have, but to other's, it's a lot. I would rather give & be thought a fool by one on earth than not & be judged by the ONE that truly matters & be wrong.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I do this judging, Rebecca, more than I care to admit. I think at times we don't even realize it. And other times I am the opposite. It takes only the loss of employment..and a few months when the unemployment runs out...and the letter in the mail says you have only three days left to vacate or the sheriff will move you to the street. We are all closer to a soup kitchen than we care to admit.

Rebecca, yesterday my husband was out spreading mulch under out tree's and a beautiful white Cadillac pulled to the curb and a man dressed in white shirt and tie leaned out and said something to my husband. My husband walked to the car window..shook his head sadly and walked away.
The car pulled slowly away..and I walked out and asked what he had wanted...and was not prepared for the answer. My husband said he was almost begging for work! The man said he would do ANYTHING at all. My husband said he wanted so badly to to give him work..but we had nothing. He felt so bad. My husband is so tender hearted...and you could see that he was hurting for the man.

I counted my blessings last night..

My Pink & Cream Cottage said...

When my first husband & I first moved to Australia we lived at *Kings Cross* which is Sydneys biggest red light district & where a lot of drug addicts live. I found work at one of the major hotels in the Cross & got toknow a lot of the people who worked & lived there. I saw a lot of homeless people mostly old men & to my husbands horror would bring them home give them a feed & a shower & sit & talk to these poor souls about their lives & how they ended up on the streets. The stories I heard broke my heart & it taught me that it to some people a marriage break up, loss of job, home etc had set them down this path. A few had drinking problems most didn't but what ever the circumstances I learnt to have a lot of respect for these men, they were after all someones father, grandfather & had been someones husband. In the end my ex would not allow me to bring these men home anymore, something I felt very ashamed of whenever I saw them on the streets. Anyone of us could one day be in their position!

Lyn xxx

jen said...

It's interesting how when we focus on the inner Witness - life in the Spirit - how outrageous life can become. This week, I've been thinking about the guy who stole our car. He's sitting in jail. I wonder what might happen if I visited him. What if I wrote him a letter. How sad to be so desperate - to steal a car in the middle of a dark street and night. God shows up in prisons all the time, while the rest of us look down our thin noses. Following Christ is so different than we think it's going to be. I think you're brave, Beck. Your story serves such a great purpose for us all.

Sares said...

What a meaningful post. It makes you stop and think about our own reactions. I see this frequently too. Near the freeway exits, it's very common. Usually the same people too. in fact where I live they recently discovered some of these poor souls living under the the freeway overpass, tucked behind the cement. I think it's just plain sad. I don't feel anger, but don't usually hand out money either. I think so many of us are just in a quandry as to how to truly help these people. I thank God every night I have a safe, warm and loving home to go to!

TheMuffinMan said...

Your lovely and thoughtful post withstanding and it's truthful life lessons, I wouldn't be to worried about this particular instance.

The local news has done about a million specials on the people who stand on those corners and has tracked them back to the Mercedes that they get into around the corner.

A Romantic Porch said...

Rebecca, What an interesting posting AND comments! Life is so so so hard. Life is a struggle. I decided many years ago, if I had the ability to give, I would give. I am not responsible for THEIR actions or attitude, only my own. You said it all so well. Thank you for sharing this. Love, Rachel

Rebecca said...

To Romantic Porch...Hi NAZGAL...

Yes...I thought so, too! I love your heart...I really do..

Thanks for the comments to all of you. Very thought provoking indeed!

xoRebecca

Blog Archive