I am on the Board of Directors of a local homeless shelter and life recovery center. I believe passionately in the work that is done there. Hurting people are given the chance to start over and some amazing things happen. I work a lot with the staff and other board members on finances and strategic planning.
I believe helping the hurting and marginalized is the essence of the Gospel.
I do not get to do as much actual hands-on work at the shelter as I would like because my job now requires me to travel to another city part of each week. In that city I have a small apartment downtown, just a couple of blocks from the office I use when I am there.
Every day when I am there and I walk to work, almost without fail I will walk among people who are homeless. I have no idea what their stories are. Most days one of them will stop me or call out to me, asking if I can spare a bit of money for them.
Every once in a while I will reach into my wallet and hand them something. But most times I just walk by and, quite frankly, I just wish they would leave me alone. Sometimes I act like don't hear them. Sometimes, to ease my conscience, I tell myself that anything I give them will just be used for drugs and alcohol.
Jesus said when we give unto the "least of these" we give to Him. He said when someone asks you for something, you give more than what they ask for. He said that to whom much is given, much is required.
What do I say about myself when I walk by those people and just hope they will let me walk by? When I see one coming and I cross the street so I won't have to walk by them? When I get to my office and hate myself because I didn't have enough compassion to even look at those people?