Sunday, September 7, 2008

What Do You Do?

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?


Kelly said...

I can certainly understand what you are saying, Bob. I like to think I'm a compassionate, giving person, yet I often feel guilty for what I'm NOT doing. No matter what we do, there's always MORE we could be doing. (or feel like we could/should)

We don't "earn" our salvation. Good deeds aren't what get us to Heaven. I use to think my conscience was the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I've come to believe now that it's sometimes the work of the enemy.

God knows our hearts. Trust Him to guide your actions.

Pam said...

You know, Bob, I think many of us do what we can where we see the need or feel the calling.

I don't encounter homeless people most of the time in my daily routine.

What I DO do is to give, on a regular basis, all the things I might have once tossed to the myriad of donation boxes for clothing and small items at various locations close to me.

I always respond to the various drives our school and many stores ask us to respond to.

I'm going to begin volunteering as much as I can when not subbing in a classroom with severely autistic children at a local school.

Yes, we could all be doing more; but, I think many of us find ourselves doing where and when we can.

I used to feel guilty that I couldn't do as much or all that I felt I should be doing. That feeling has lessened since I started realizing the things that I can do are fine.

When God wants me to do MORE, I think he nudges me in the right direction.

Debby said...

Here's the way I look at it. If I am moved, I give. If I am not moved, I say a kind word, which costs nothing at all. Trust that God will guide you rightly. Don't hesitate to look them square in the eye, but don't feel guilty because you don't have money to give, or do not feel, at that moment, moved to give it. Mostly, believe this: if you give money to someone who spends it on the wrong things, he will be judged for that. God will judge you on your giving, not the way that gift was used by another.