Overcoming Obstacles

Beggar’s Hands

My husband and I woke to see a man passed out on our porch this morning.

I’m no city kid; the Bronx has never been my neighborhood. This may explain why my first reaction was terror. My eyes flitted to the window we had left wide open in our bedroom while my mind calculated the potential cost we may pay for leaving the window in the living room open as well. After checking the screens on the outside of the windows and closing them we decided this could have been a lot worse than it was.homeless

All that being said, we still had a bit of a problem. The man was not so much the problem as were the many questions swirling in my mind.

“What would Christ do? How would He handle this?”

“Do we actually have to go out there and talk to this guy?”

“Do we offer him a glass of water?”

How do we treat him?

Like I mentioned earlier my first reaction was terror. Despite wanting to act like Christ my second reaction was defence.

“How can we get him out of here?” I asked Alex.

He smiled at me, “I was reading through proverbs and asking God for wisdom.”

He paused to stare into my eyes.

“I think we should bring him out some water?”

My heart dropped.

“Do you want to wind up dead? What if the man has a knife, or worse yet, killer breath?”

He smiled weakly then sighed. “Yeah…”

“Maybe you’re right.”

“I know I am…” I peered at the window to make sure the scary, homeless man wasn’t peeking in.

Long story short, the man rose with the faintest hints of dawn. We didn’t have the chance to do anything to change the situation. We simply waited until we saw his foot disappear from the furthest section of our window.

After he left I stopped to ponder the condition of my heart. How was it that I didn’t understand the basic principles of our Christian faith when I had known the Lord for so many years?

How are we to treat people who despite tax payers money, billion dollar grants and countless rehabilitation initiative available to them, live on the streets, endanger our safety and continue to beg?

Do we say, “yes” when they ask for money that is clearly not for bus fare? Should we take them for food when all this may be doing is further enforcing the idea that they can mooch off of hard working people in society?

To be honest, I am still processing this and at the moment have more questions than answers attached to this post.

If you have any thoughts please share them.

Yours Truly,

Katie

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3 thoughts on “Beggar’s Hands

  1. You know this post reminded me of my grandmother. Back then they were called “hobos” She fed so many of them in her lifetime, always teaching us kids, “Never turn a hungry person away from your door.” See hobo’s marked your house so other hobos would know they could get food there.

    Jesus said, “The poor will be among us always.” I was a single mother for 11 years, and worked as many as three jobs at one time. I was never on any state assistance or anything. Anyways, one time money got short and I told God, “Lord if You will never let me and my children go hungry, I will never pass a hungry person on the street.”

    That day I was going to work, and there stood a man with a sign, “Will work for food.” I had five dollars to my name, but I remembered the promise to God. There was a Whataburger right behind him and I went and got what the five dollars would buy and gave it to him.

    For the next four days that same man was out there with that sign. It was amazing, I bar tended part time, and worked in the medical field full time. That night I went to work bar tending and one man gave me as much as a twenty dollar tip. I had three tip jars and they were full to the brim. One person gave me a 1936 silver certificate. I was able to feed that man the rest of the week.

    To this day, I never pass a hungry person if I can get to them. My children and myself never went hungry and I was single for 11 years. I never had to depend on the government for anything.

    I do not know, I never let fear stop me from doing what I would want someone to do for me. I know in these times there is a lot to be afraid of but, there always has been since the beginning of time. We never know when God Himself has placed that person on our doorstep to see what we are going to do? I think we must use caution and sense. I never give them money, but always food and drink because, “But for the grace there go I.” I know what it is to be poor and be working at the same time. I also know what it is like through no fault of my own to be poor and not have a job.

    When they come to my door, I just tell them to stay outside and I will get them something to eat and drink. Hope this helps. God Bless, SR

  2. Hi Katie,

    I am glad it helped. You know when I woke up yesterday morning this post came to my mind with two other things. Both of them were concerning Mother Teresa. She said, “We must always see the face of Jesus on others, especially the poor.” Then I remembered something when reading her book. She found a man on the street dying and maggot infested. She took him with her and cleaned him up and placed him in bed. He said, “Now that he was dying he was looking at the face of an angel.” I think these two things pretty much sum up what we are to do as Christians. We all fail at it. Sigh. So do not beat yourself up too badly.

    I know in my life, when I come upon the poor the words of Mother Teresa and this man always enter my mind. More than anything, I always try and “see the face of Jesus” on them. Then my decision is pretty well made. Enjoyed the conversation and God Bless, SR

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