Today after I went shopping at Marshall’s an older homeless man approached me in the parking lot. He said he was hungry and asked me for money. Without hesitation, I reached into my purse and pulled out my wallet.
The homeless man motioned to his hands and said, “I don’t have any fingers. Frostbite took my fingers.” When I took a closer look, there were little stubs where fingers once had been. He took my five-dollar bill by using the palms of his hands. Then he cheerfully said, “God bless!”
I responded, “God bless!”
He turned slowly and left. As I got into my car and drove away, a horrifying thought occurred to me. Five dollars is not enough money to feed a hungry, homeless man. He must be starving! Filled with remorse and shame, I silently prayed, “Dear Lord, I am so sorry for not providing this homeless man more money. Please forgive me.”
Instantly, Matthew 25:40 came to mind. I think it was Jesus speaking to me. He poured His love, peace, and grace into my sorrowful soul. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Remembering the penniless man, I wondered how many others he had asked for help. Did they give freely, or reject him? Saddened by the disturbing thought, I pondered how many sleepless nights he laid awake, cold, hungry, and thirsty?
Our society seems to justify turning away impoverished people. It is easier to criticize than dip into our pockets for spare change. Instead of reaching out with compassion to help the destitute, most suspect their hard earned money will be wrongfully spent.
While I do understand this notion, I find myself asking who we are to judge the poverty-stricken. Are we not called by God to extend a hand to the less fortunate? In Luke 14:13-14 we are told, “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
After this meeting with the homeless man, God revealed that I am to be a reflection of Christ. My job on earth is not to criticize, reject, or judge. My job is to offer a helping hand, compassion, and mercy. I am to do unto others as I hope they would do to me. As I do this, others will see the love of our Heavenly Father shining forth.
In a nutshell, it’s about paying it forward. We all have the power to give. It’s the most gratifying feeling ever. By reaching out to help another human being you are sending ripples of positive change.
I challenge you today to pay it forward. You do not need to save a village—only one lost soul. Be the reflection of Christ and shine His light. The cost is little, but the reward is abundant.
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Dana is an ordinary wife, mother, and sister, but a daughter of an extraordinary Heavenly Father. She has a heart for prayer and reaching out to hurting women. Dana writes for the heart-n-soul to provide hope, healing, and rising above unrelenting hardships. She is a contributing author of Inspired Women Succeed and is working on her debut book, Harvest of Hope: Living Victoriously Through Adversity. Dana blogs at http://writing4theheart-n-soul.blogspot.com/.
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