It really bothers me when I see the poor or hungry in my community holding a “Need food (or gas)” sign. What bothers me even more is when I see us drive by that needy person in our $40,000 vehicles without even stopping or thinking, “I’ve got a few dollars in my wallet I can share.”
I know there are times when we think, “But what if they take my $5 and go buy something other than food?” The way I see it, God gave that $5 to me and trusted me to be responsible with it, so I can trust someone else to do the same. If that person chooses to do something other than buy food with the money I gave him, that’s between him and God.
I recently pulled up to a man sitting at the edge of our town that was hoping to catch a ride. He looked tired and smelled like he needed a shower.
I asked him if he was hungry. He told me he was, but also said what he really needed was a ride. I told him, “I can’t give you a ride today, but we can go grab a bite to eat, and then we’ll get you back to the edge of town as soon as possible.” He was good with that. I told him McDonald’s was quick and asked him if that was okay. Again, he was very polite and very grateful.
When we got into McDonald’s, I waved my hand at the menu board and told him, “You feel free to get anything you want and as much as you can eat.” It was right then that I remembered that my son had raided my wallet that morning for some cash and I wasn’t sure if I had enough cash to pay for “anything he wanted and as much as he could eat,” like I had just told him.
I quickly reached for my wallet, thinking the whole time, how embarrassing this is going to be if he orders his food and I can’t pay for it. I opened my wallet and quickly counted six dollars as he started to order. I tried to hear what he was ordering, but couldn’t catch it all. When he finished ordering the lady at the counter rang it up and said, “That’ll be $5.78, please.” I thought to myself, “NO WAY!” and tried my best to hold back a smile as I handed her my six dollars. When his food came, I realized that my new homeless friend had taken it upon himself to order from the dollar menu.
I asked him if he wanted to sit down and eat and he said, “If it’s okay, I’ll eat it outside of town while I’m waiting on a ride.” When I left him out by our Wal-Mart, I couldn’t help but think about the kid with 5 loaves and 2 fish who showed up on a day when Jesus was needing to feed 5000 people. I wondered if the boy had a smile on his face and thought, “NO WAY!” when he watched the people being fed with his small amount.
I’m constantly being reminded that God will always provide when we’re willing to help others.