Tuesday, May 25, 2010

“Will Work for Food”

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

I know I’ve seen it, and you probably have to. You’re driving down the road, or leaving the parking lot of a shopping center, and there one the corner is a man or woman standing with a sign asking for help because they are out of work and out of money. I know my reaction to that is to do nothing. I sit in my car looking forward, thinking the whole time I cannot wait for this light to change. And when it does, I pull away trying my best to not think about it anymore. Why do we do that? Maybe it is because we have had a bad situation happen when trying to help.

When I was in high school there was a man who would stand on two different corners of the same road holding the familiar sign “will work for food.” One day a colleague of mine with another lawn service asked the man if he wanted to run one of his weed eaters for a couple of hours and the man replied, “Well I cannot do any physical work because I have back problems.” Now I do not know if that was the truth and I am not here to judge the man, but that response to his sign can be something that turns people away from helping.

Another time I was in Washington D.C. with some friends. For our Western Civics class we had to pick an art museum to go through and then write a report, so my friends and I selected the National Museum of Art to. Our hotel that weekend was several blocks from the National Mall in DuPont Circle. So to get from the hotel to the Mall we decided to ride the subway. All we had on us was $20 bills and at that time they would not work on the subway. So we went into Walgreens to make change. As we were going in there was a man outside the door asking for a handout. The cashier could not open her drawer to make change without a purchase so we bought a box of snack food and gave it to the man outside. When we gave him the box of food I remember his reaction all to well. Instead of thanking us he began to curse at us and complain about what we gave him. Now I realize we were in the wrong. We should have bought him something with substance, but his reaction would have been enough too cause one to never help again.

So why do I say all of that? Well today’s reading (Galatians 2) reminded me of something I as a Christian need to do a better job of. Paul is being sent out by the Elders and Apostles in Jerusalem. They are blessing him on his mission to go to the Gentiles and preach the gospel. As they do, they asked one other task … “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” From this we learn two things … remember the poor and be eager to do it.

So, do you do a good job at remembering the poor? Do you help those standing on the corner as you drive by no matter their reaction? I know I need to a better job of this. It is funny; lately this has been something really on my heart as I have seen more and more people in need. So how can we do a better job? What are some ways we could help those in need? What are some ways we could bring a little light to those who are in darkness?

The above image was borrowed from the blog Heart of Campus Ministry

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