Every so often I will drive past someone who is standing on the said of the road with a sign saying “will work for food”, or “homeless, needs shelter”, or “God Bless you, please give food for my family” etc. Sometimes I will have pity on them, sometimes I will get annoyed by them, sometimes I may even pray for them but very rarely do I stop and offer anything to them.
When I was younger I remember riding around town with my dad, who has always been an amazing example of Christ likeness to me, and we saw a man with one of these signs asking for money to buy food. My dad knew how most people think when they see a “homeless” person asking for money for food…they will probably just take it and buy drugs or beer instead of what they say they need. So what my dad did was he went through a drive-thru and came back with a combo meal for this person.
As I have gotten older I have realized that there is some major depth to what my dad did.
1) He recognized the need.
2) He knew he had the means to meet the need.
3) He made sure the need was met.
4) He did it with Joy as unto the Lord.
Maybe your experience is different than mine but I’m not used to seeing someone holding a sign when they had a need or if they need help in some way. But if we are seeing people through the eyes of Christ then we will have the sensitivity to see through the fronts and toughness that people tend to show to avoid being accused of weak or needy. We are all weak and all need help from time to time and none of us are able or are supposed to handle the journey of mountains and valleys of life alone.
When we are trying to live Christ out in our lives then we will be looking for ways to serve people. We won’t be able to help it; love will just overflow out of us. We will be see each chance we have to serve someone as an opportunity to be Christ to them and live out the Scripture that says “people will know you are my disciples if you love one another”.
We need to be specific in our giving when we know a specific need. When there is a need we, as Christ followers, should do more than simply throw money arbitrarily into the air and hope that the right person finds it and does the right thing with it to meet their need. Sometimes we are just supposed to give and trust that through our obedience of giving God will use the money the best way He sees fit. However, there are plenty of times where we are very aware of a real, specific, current need and if the Lord has given us the means to take care of that need than we should make sure that the need, at least for the moment and perhaps for longer, is met.
I recently re-read Matthew 25 and was struck deep with the thought of treating people the same way I would treat Jesus if I saw Him in the same situation. I just had this feeling that if we saw Jesus walking down the street with His cross on his back that people would be jumping out of their cars or running out of the stores to help him so they could be seen helping Jesus out…but…when we see a man, who may also have a beard, but is carrying an old worn out book bag, or is sitting next to his rusty bike with everything he owns hanging off the handle bars we MAY smile at him as we drive by, but we would probably just lock our doors as we avoid eye contact with him. I know that in today’s culture we do have to be smart but if anybody would fall in the category or “the least of these” seems like those people might. If we treat people like we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes (and we realize that it’s only by God’s grace that we are not) then we might begin to change our perspective. Everything we have belongs to the Lord, and everyone on earth are created by God so when we give as unto the Lord we are really only giving something that God allowed us to have back to God which not only blessed the receiver, but matures the giver and ultimately brings more glory to Christ.