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BEGGARS

We have all seen them.  Men, women and sometimes families who stand on the roadside and in parking lots with handmade, cardboard signs asking for help.  They tug at our heartstrings yet we hesitate.  Unfortunately our society as a whole has become skeptical and maybe even a little critical of these individuals.  Many of us have thought, “I don’t want to give them money because they might buy liquor, cigarettes or even drugs.”  We find ourselves avoiding eye contact by looking at our phones, playing with the radio or if we are walking, we cross the street or duck inside a coffee shop.

However, last night, a different scenario unfolded and it changed me.

 

As Jerry and I had pulled into our local Mobile/7-11 gas station, we saw a truly homeless man sitting on the curb a few feet from the door.  But when we pulled to the pump, I could not really see him from my vantage point as Jerry pumped the gas.  What I did notice was the people who were coming out of the store, glancing at the homeless man before quickly getting into their cars.  I totally understood. 

 

A few moments later, two police officers walked out of the store and made their way over to man.  Jerry climbed back into our car and we sat there observing.  We could not hear what the officers were saying, but they seemed to be kindly questioning the man, asked for some ID—which the man presented—and then obviously asked the man to move on.  The man seemed to respond without hesitation and got up slowly walking over to his shopping cart. 

That is when I actually experienced a broken heart.


As the man stood up, I got a clear view of him.  He was not lovely to look at and my eyes automatically worked their way down his body.  His white t-shirt was filthy, ripped in a few places, and so thin I could literally see right through it.  His shorts, obviously too big for his body, clung to his tall, thin frame with black boxers hanging down underneath them.  Finally my eyes stopped at the man’s feet and I gasped saying, “Oh my gosh Jerry, look at his feet!”  This poor man wore nothing on his feet but a pair of old, dirty socks.  The socks had large holes at the heels and on the balls of his feet leaving his skin exposed to the hard, hot asphalt surface.  Tears swelled in my eyes.  (Even as I write this now, my eyes flood with tears as it is a sight burned into my memory.) 

 

Jerry got out of the car to finish the gas and all I could do was stare at this truly homeless man as he took his shopping cart, filled with very little, and began walking away.  He walked proud with his head held high and in all his physical repulsiveness, which I am ashamed to say would normally cause me to turn away, there was something about this man that drew me to him.  I cannot explain it but I just started praying so earnestly and passionately for this man.  “God please have mercy on this man.  Please watch over him. Provide for him Lord.”  And before I could continue God spoke these words to my heart, "You do something for him.”

 

I sat for a moment thinking about the words that ran through my mind and as Jerry got back into the car after pumping the gas I asked, "Jerry, what size are your sandals?" Without hesitating Jerry took off his shoes, handed them to me saying with a smile, "I think they are a size 1,” he paused and went on, “You want me to give him my shoes don't you?"  Can I stop for a moment and tell you my husband is the most loving and giving person I know.  I have been so blessed over the years by his heart of gold.  Jerry too had taken stock of the man and knew he had to help.  Not surprisingly at all, Jerry took out his wallet and handed me all the cash he had in it without ever stopping to count.   It did not matter how much it was.


As we pulled out of the gas station, Jerry slowly pulled beside the homeless man as he was walking.  I rolled down my window and asked, "Sir, may I ask what size shoe you wear?"

 

The man greeted me so humbly, "Hello, mmmma'am," he had a stuttering problem, "I wearrrrr a 13."


I held the sandals out of the window and said, "These are a size 11 but they are sandals so they might fit?"  He graciously took the sandals and was so happy to get them. “Also, I know it is not much but it is all we have right now,” and I placed the money in his hand.

 

“Thththey will fit,” he said. Then, with his stuttered speech he continued, "Thank you so much, Ma'am!  May I say a blessing for you and your family?"


I couldn't believe my ears! Here, standing before me was a man in such a disheveled state and had not a penny to his name.  A man to whom-- with much embarrassment---we had given very little and he looked into my eyes and with the most genuine smile and sense of gratitude he asked if he could bless us!


I couldn't hold back my tears and could barely speak, "You want to bless me? Please do, Sir."

 

This sweet man, stuttering and all, spoke an amazing blessing over us and our family. Jerry and I were so deeply touched.  We thanked him profusely and as we drove away I could barely speak.  I was totally overcome with emotion at this man’s gentle and loving Spirit.

 

I did not share this story for ‘pats on the back’ or to hear “what good people we are” because if truth be told we should have done much, much more.  I am blogging this because it touched me so incredibly deeply and I am praying it will touch all those who read it.    

 

Perhaps God brought this particular man into our lives to help us realize we should be doing more? There are many people in our own churches who could use some financial help.  God usually brings these individuals to our minds and hearts in quiet whispers.  The Holy Spirit is always a gentleman.  While many churches have benevolence funds available to the congregation-- which is a very good thing— God permits us to please Him by our obeying His still, quiet voice. 

 

Has God spoke to your heart about helping someone in your church?  Maybe a single mom who is struggling?  Or a man who has lost his job and needs some help paying some bills but is too embarrassed to ask?  Or perhaps even a person on the street corner holding up a sign?  Who knows, these people may be the ‘angels unaware’ the Bible speaks of.


I realize many people out there take advantage of the kindness of others by making "begging" their occupation.  In God’s eyes does it matter where their hearts are or does it matters where our hearts are?  If we feel the guiding of the Holy Spirit to act, then shouldn’t we act without questioning?   And shouldn’t we do it so that “the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing?”  Discretely, anonymously if possible and with an humble spirit.

 

We all know the story of the Good Samaritan from the Bible and I would like to encourage you to also read the very words of Christ concerning such things which can be found in Mathew 25:31-46.  These Scriptures are not meant to criticism or to chastise but like all of God’s inspired Words, they are meant to (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

 

“. . .  be useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped fo revery good work."

Always loving, and serving, our Lord,

L. H. Robbins

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