As I looked at what was on the menu for lunch today in the cafeteria at my office, I didn’t see anything I really wanted, so I took a walk through downtown Memphis to grab a bite to go from somewhere. As I walked down the sidewalk, I realized that I really didn’t have a taste for anything in particular, and I honestly didn’t want to spend $10 on lunch today. So, I decided to go back to the office and make myself a salad. While working my way back, I noticed a man who was obviously in need in my path. Now, normally I don’t hesitate to buy lunch for someone in need or help them if I can, but today…
I found myself beginning to cross the street early to avoid him and take out my phone to appear to be talking…
But, I didn’t cross the street. I walked by him with my phone to my cheek and asked, “Are you alright?”
He responded, “No I’m not sir. I need $6 to get into the shelter. I don’t do drugs. I don’t drink. I really need some help.” I’ve worked with the homeless to know when someone is trying to take advantage of you, but even if he was…that would be between him and God. It’s not going to break me to leave behind an example of God’s love. To be a possible answer to a prayer. To confirm that someone has value. To let someone see that people still care…even if I don’t eat lunch myself. So, I gave him what he asked for, chatted for a moment and had prayer with him. I then asked him to pray for me.
But, I’m so ashamed of myself for briefly hardening my heart. I know what God told us about helping those in need…
Deuteronomy 15:7-8 (NKJV)
7 “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.
Proverbs 21:13 (NKJV)
13 Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be heard.
James 2:14-17 (NKJV)
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
1 John 3:17 (NKJV)
17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
James 4:17 (NKJV)
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
I feel ashamed that God has given me more than enough for today, that it crossed my heart to withhold being a blessing to someone in need.
I ask God to forgive me and thank Him for allowing me to ‘come to myself’.
Have you done something, or not done something that left you ashamed? If so, take a deep breath. Yep, that’s proof that you still have an opportunity to repent, and even if you can’t ‘make right’ what you’re ashamed of, you can FIND A WAY to share God’s love, and resolve to do better.