Do you ever wonder about those guys on the side of the road with the cardboard signs that claim they will work for food?
I saw one guy on the side of the road “Stranded: need gas money to get to my kids.” The next day I saw him WITH his kids in Walmart, buying video games. I guess they could have been someone elses’ kids. I didn’t ask. But he was still buying.
I saw another guy sitting in the grass with his sign propped up against his forehead while he sat behind it texting.
There’s a group of homeless or near homeless that refuse to go to the mission downtown because they don’t like the sermon that comes with dinner or they have been kicked out for selling their state issued medication on site.
It’s hard not to be jaded.
It’s hard to give when you know the recipient feels entitled to your generosity.
It’s hard to be kind when you can’t be sure you aren’t being conned.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
A million times I’ve read/heard and memorized that verse, and in at least half of those cases, I have personalized or been told to personalize that verse. And we should. “For God so loved ME that he sent his only son…”
If little old me were the only soul on the planet, he still would have come, he still would have died to save me. It’s good to know how much we personally are valued by God.
And against that backdrop, here is what my seven year old hit me with the other night: “Dear God, thank you that you loved the world so much you sent your son to die. Not just for one person, or two people, but for every single person in the whole entire world.”
Every single person in the whole entire world.
Each one who rejects practical help.
Each one addicted.
Each one victimized.
Each one victimizing.
Each one that avoids eye contact.
Each one that is jaded.
Each one that gives, and each one that doesn’t.
The thing is, once a gift leaves our hands, it’s out of our hands. Giving is what we are asked to do. Loving is what is required of us.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Second Corinthians says, the Lord loves someone who gives cheerfully to those the giver deems worthy of the gift.
Wait. No. That’s not what it says. “The Lord loves a cheerful giver.” End of sentence.
I’ve got to be honest. My son’s prayer the other night did not prompt me to give more, but it has prompted me to look more. To smile more. To make eye contact more. To consider that the guy under the bridge has a name and a story and very likely an empty place in his heart.