Thursday, September 16, 2010

Passing By?

I drove past a woman the other day as I pulled out of a shopping center parking lot. She was sitting in the median with a sign that read 'Family struggling with food and rent. Please help.' She sat there, holding her sign, looking sad, broken, embarrassed. But still holding her sign. I wondered about her - her life, her family. How many children does she have? How did she get into this situation? What's her story? Could I help? Should I help? Always skepticism, criticism, rears its ugly head in situations like this. Yes, sometimes the skepticism is warranted. Maybe true. But then I think of what my Bible says, and I think, it's not really up to me to decide whether or not she is worthy of receiving my help. It is only up to me to help if I can. To feed the hungry. Care for the widows and orphans. Love others.

I tried to think of how I could help her in some tangible way. I had nothing in my van I could give to her. No cash. No food. Nothing. I was empty-handed. And still, as I was stopped at the light, my window down, I came face to face with her. She looked at me. Looked away quickly. I knew it would be inhuman to pretend I had not noticed her. And she looked again. I spoke to her. Apologized that I had nothing to give her - as I'm sitting in my van that is paid for (maybe not fancy and great, but paid for and currently-functioning) leaving a shopping plaza. I'm sure she doubted me. Surely I had something. I even felt like, there must be something I could give her. I just couldn't think of anything. We chatted for a moment. Someone had given her a box of granola bars that she was excited to take home to her boys. Still I could think of nothing to give her. The light turned green. I wished her luck, feeling like a total idiot, and then drove away. What good does a wish for luck do? I felt like an idiot.

So tonight, before going to bed, I was browsing through my regular blogs that I read, and I came across this post about providing vitamins to a third-world country for a children's feeding program. I read it. Considered it. Then, honestly, had ruled it out in my mind. Until I was reminded of the lady in the parking lot. How many will I pass by before I choose to find a way to stop and help? Will it be convenient for me? No. But is it a way that I can do some small thing to be a part of some bigger thing? Yes. Absolutely. So I think this weekend, the kids and I will make a trip to the grocery store, and we will pick out some vitamins. And we will send them. Please take a minute to read this post and consider taking a small action in changing a very big world.

A bit redundant, but I wanted to post this here for you to read... in case you decide not to follow that link I gave you and go read the post.

I’m quoting in full here Jaime, a missionary in Costa Rica. She describes this incident where she delivers food to some desperate kids:

“I’m gonna go fight poverty for two and a half hours. 2.5 hours on a Tuesday
morning to solve the biggest problem in the world. What a joke.

We will show up with a bag full of bread and an armload of bananas, and the children will clamber around us like ducks at a pond. A bunch of little ducklings, falling all over each other for a bit of bread and a soft pat on the head.

And for 2 and a half hours we will laugh and play and eat, and we will talk about Jesus. And when we leave, they will be just as poor as when we arrived. Poverty taunts us as we drive away.

It’s overwhelming. The problem is so big, and we are so small. It feels
ridiculous… showing up to war wielding a loaf of bread.

Of course that’s how David showed up. Just a shepherd boy with some bread for his brothers, a kid who was quick with a sling shot. He chose for battle against a giant, not a sword, or the kings armor, but five smooth stones. And he won.

He said to the giant:”You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel,
whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” ~1 Samuel 17

I kind of love that.

I’m going to feed the ducks, now. And then, with all my might, I will hurl a tiny pebble at their giant enemy. And I hope it hurts like hell.



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