Friday, August 14, 2015

the least of these

For the past few years Val and Elaine have helped me make what we call "homeless bags." We go buy a bunch of things that may be usefull to someone living on the streets, pack them into ziplock bags and then put them into our van. That way we'll be ready to hand one over to whoever we come across. 

We saw a guy yesterday on our way to Smart & Final. "Aw man," I bemoaned, "we're out of homeless bags."

We drove on and turned into the parking lot. 

"So?" Elaine said, "we could still buy him something at the store and take it to him." 

I said nothing. I didn't really feel like it. I had a system, and it was true that system was down due to my lack of oversight, but I didn't feel like going out of my way. It wasn't part of my plan for that day. So I'm fine with doing God's will only when it fits into my will? Is that it? I think that's it. Crud.

"Yeah," Val agreed, "let's get him something. Probably like water and a snack like chips or something."

"I don't know..." I said doubtfully, searching for reasons why giving something to a homeless man in broad daylight wasn't a good idea. Nevermind that it was JESUS' idea. "We'd have to drive around again out of our way to head the right way past him." I protested weakly. Am I really doing this? Trying to talk my kids OUT of being Christlike?!?

They regarded me curiously. Elaine spoke, "Mom. We could just go park on the parking lot side and walk up and hand it to him and not be on the street side." Yes, children, apparently you do need to refresh my memory on how cars work. 

Ugh. Even more of a personal investment and interaction. Walking up and talking instead of handing something out the window as we drive past.

We went into the store and got our things. Val tugged my arm in the check-out line. "Gift cards! We could get him a gift card, that way he can buy exactly what he needs instead of us guessing the wrong thing."

Okay fine. We got the giftcards (there were two homeless guys, working different parts of the same corner.)

I pulled the van into a parking space near the man and got out. I hate awkward situations even with people I know. This wasn't at all comfortable for me or something I'm a natural at. (As if God only asks us to do things we're comfortable with - hah.) Many of my family memebers live for this kind of conversation, but I don't. 

I smiled and held out my hand, "Hi! I'm beck. We've seen you here a couple of times." He shook my hand. His name is Ryan. I held out the gift card. "I hope this helps." He thanked me.

Next time we drive by Ryan I hope I'll have a better attitude and a more willing spirit. Thanks, kids.

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