I feel pretty confident in my ability to hear the Lord speaking to me in almost every area of my life.
Except when it comes to whether or not I’m supposed to reach out to the panhandler I see on the side of the road.
I was told as a child that most homeless people/panhandlers/dirty humans on the streets would use any money that they were given for drugs and/or alcohol, so it wasn’t a wise idea or use of money or being good Samaritan to hand those folks money. Later in my life I heard someone suggest that if you really wanted to help those people, then give them what they asked for:
“Hungry, haven’t eaten for a week” . . . so buy them lunch.
“Need gas to get to Seattle” . . . so bring them a gallon.
“Thirsty” . . . so hand them a bottle of water.
Once or twice I remember handing a panhandler a granola bar as I stopped my car at the red light, saying “God bless you!” right before I drove away. And I think that that was probably received well and they appreciated it. But it’s been a long time since then.
Being surrounded by friends and family who actively love these types of people has challenged me in this habit I’ve formed. It doesn’t help that the poverty line in this city is extreme and homeless people are easy spotted. I have been telling Jesus for the past couple years, “Hey, if you REALLY want me to reach out, and if they REALLY need it, then YOU move me and tell me what I should do and when I should do it.”
I reminded God of this the other day when I was feeling particularly convicted about this whole thing and you know what His response was?
“When was the last time that happened?”
. . .
So I realized that there was probably something else going on in my spirit that kept me from being obedient to
“Whatever you do for the least of these, you do to Me . . . ”
“Feed the hungry . . . clothe the naked . . . visit those in prison . . . “
I dug deeper.
I am A F R A I D .
I am U N C O M F O R T A B L E .
I M A K E E X C U S E S .
Because I also L O V E J E S U S . And I claim to love Him and honor Him and revere Him and His W I L L above all else. Or at least I try really hard to.
” You have charged us to keep Your commandments carefully.
Oh that my actions would consistently reflect Your principles! “
Psalm 119: 4 – 5
I asked God to retrain me to be obedient. Teach me how to respond to this impression He has put on my spirit.
“Danae, I always want to communicate love, acceptance, HONOR.”
I see that if I’m thinking from His mind, seeing from His eyes, I can easily respond to these beautiful people. And maybe that means supporting more those organizations that provide hand-ups to them; rescue missions, soup kitchens, safe houses, etc, so that they can more effectively continue the good work of helping those people improve their lives and not just feed them for the afternoon.
I’m just thankful that I am moving away from making excuses and moving into change.