Everyday (without fail) they will only come to me when looking for money. The parking lot will be filled with cars and people, but I will be the only person that they approach. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. I have checked my forehead for the tattoo that says "Ask Me For Cash", I have checked to make sure that I am not carrying a sign that says that I will give, I have looked for markings that may suggest that I am the person that has what they are after.
When I could, I would give them money. And when I didn't have any to spare, just the 75 cents that I scrounged up to buy myself a little jolt of caffeine from the soda fountain, I would ignore them, not make eye contact, or shake my head. I would return back to my little office, angry, self-righteous, defensive. Who are they that I should support them? Why should I feel guilty that I am not buying their cigarettes, alcohol, food? How dare they make me feel like this?
Only, they aren't the ones causing me to feel like this.
You see, I call myself a Christ follower. I say I have faith, and I have God, and I have the Spirit, but when given little tests like these? I fail, I fail every single time. I could say, "I just don't have it", but that wouldn't be true - I have that 75 cents in my hand that I could give them - I just don't have the faith to know that more than that will be rewarded to me if only I would give up that little want.
You see I can give Christ, the Spirit, and God all of the lip service that I want, but if I am not following what I am told to do and not sacrificing the smallest of my wants for my fellow man, I am not really following him, I am not loving my neighbor, and I am causing pain and frustration to myself.
I try to teach my daughter about sharing her things with others, about being fair and playing nice - is she seeing something different from my actions? I think perhaps she has.
Jesus told His followers:
"Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
~Matthew 25:34-46 (NLT)
Pray for me on this friends, I will pray for you as well.