When it comes to people asking me for money, I’ve always battled the “who do I help” and “who do I not help” question. I’ve literally heard every sob-story and every sad excuse for why someone needs __________ (you can fill in the blank). I’ve finally come to the realization that I’m just going to help everyone I can and let God figure out if they were being honest or not. I figure I’d rather help people that didn’t need it, than miss an opportunity to help someone who did. I’ve also noticed that most of the time helping others really helps me.
I’ve never called a homeless person a bum, but I met what many refer to as a “bum” the other night. He walked up to my window at the Sonic drive-in and asked for a few bucks so he could get something to eat. From the looks of him, he was obviously WAY down on his luck. I could clearly smell cigarette smoke and liquor on him. No telling how long it had been since this guy had a bath. I noticed his speech was a little slurred as he handed me a quarter and said, “I’ll trade you my very last quarter for a few dollars.” I like this guys approach. I told him that wasn’t very fair, because I felt I was getting the better end of that deal. “There’s not too many times in your life that you get a man’s last quarter,” I told him. I gave him a five dollar bill and gave him his quarter back. I really didn’t think much of it till my kids, who were all sitting in the back seat said, “Dad, that was really cool you helping him out like that.” Then it hit me that maybe, just maybe, I not only fed a “bum” but also taught my boys a lesson about helping others.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give your something to drink?” … Then the King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”