We’ve all seen the signs. They’re on nearly every street corner in America. The signs that hide the face, the heart, the soul of someone in need. To be totally honest – I usually just pass them by. I might wave if we should make eye contact. Then I drive on. Out of sight – out of mind. I’ve been doing it for years.
My attitude is – get a job you bum. Don’t you have a family who can take you in? Or, you’re just too lazy to work – so you stand out here and make money by guilting kind-hearted people into handing you a buck or two. Then you beat feet to the liquor store or the local drug dealer and the cycle continues. Their cycle and mine. Maybe I can’t do anything about their cycle – but I can do something about mine.
The other day I passed by a guy with the usual sign. “Anything Helps” is the most popular plea around here. I made believe I didn’t see him and I drove on. But God saw him. And God saw me. As I turned up the sound on the car radio – the band Leeland’s song “Follow You” started playing. Part of the chorus is “I’ll meet the needs for the poor and the needy, God.” And I realized that I wasn’t meeting anyone’s needs. I was judging them. And my verdict was guilty of laziness, addiction, bad breaks, and general wastefulness. Then it hit me – that also describes me!
I often berate myself about not reaching my full potential for God and wonder how I will be judged when I stand on Heaven’s street corner. Will I have a sign? What will it read? “I Did Good Deeds?” “I Tithed!” ” I played in the church band.” “I Never Cheated On My Wife!” “I Never Killed Anyone!” If God drove by, would He drop a dollar in my hat? He’d probably just shake His head and say – “you still don’t get it do you?”
Sometimes I forget that I’ve been forgiven and saved. It’s not about what I do. It’s about what I believe. It’s about faith. And since I have that faith and have been saved by God’s grace the only thing left to do is follow the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Faith without works, is dead! I don’t want a dead faith. I want a living, breathing, loving faith.
For me, maybe it starts with handing that guy on the corner a dollar or two. “But he’ll just use it for booze or drugs.” Well, that’s between him and God. What if, I or you included a bible or tract with the money we hand our brother on the street corner? Rick Warren’s “What Am I Here For?” is a good one. So is “God Allows U-Turns!” by Allison Bottke. These are inexpensive and God will use them for His glory. All we have to do, is meet the needs of the poor and the needy – for God.
Handing a panhandler some money and a bible tract? $2.00. Sharing God’s love with a street person? Priceless!