Oh yes, my daughter and I ventured out to the local mall in hopes of uncovering some great deals today. Little did I know what was in store for me from God! The day after Christmas is always a great day for bargains and I had my list ready: spoons (that seem to go missing all the time), a pot (which I burned making hash browns at Christmas breakfast), a case of water, hooks (to hang towels) and a new kitchen table. Okay, so I found everything but the new kitchen table at a local superstore. Probably not the shopping list that you all thought I would have, right? You have to know me. I cannot stand shopping unless I really need something. Today, I needed a few items. So as we left the store, I felt satisfied. I had located all my items and even found a pretty good deal on my spoons. With my fourteen year old at my side, I felt pretty good about the experience. Not to mention, we were in the sunny state of Florida and back home was being hit hard by a blizzard of snow. I turned the corner of the parking lot and spied a young woman all of maybe 23 years of age. Her eyes were filled with tears. Her clothing was pajama bottoms, a shirt and a small jacket. She held a sign in front of her chest that said, “Need money. Homeless with baby.” Her hair was disheveled and she looked exhausted. Not the typical sign holder (at least in my own judgment). Judgment – that is where it all began. Usually in this case, I would roll up my windows, lock my doors and ignore the person on the side of the road. Hoping that I was making the right call, I would tell myself that they would probably use the money for drugs or alcohol. I go round and round in my head all the time over this choice. Is that a Christian attitude? Aren’t I judging that person? If I give them money and they use it for drugs, aren’t I enabling them?
Matthew 25:15-18 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
If I don’t share my money, then aren’t I just digging a hole in the ground and hiding my money? I certainly am not multiplying or exchanging them. If I would choose to give my money to others, then the exchange would be my gift (money, time or talent) for the blessing of doing God’s Will. I have struggled with this for a long time. I know many of us do. In my weekly bible study meetings, we have discussed it at length. Recently, I read that to be a Christian means to give of our time, talent and treasure that God gives us. If we are blessed with money, then we are called to share that with others. Others period. Not necessarily others in need. Just share with others. Pete and I have been blessed with money. Not rich-like, but enough money to cover our needs and some of our desires. This article went on to say, when we give to the person on the side of the road, it is none of our business where they use the money. We are called to give. God will judge how they use that money. Also, God will judge us on how we gave the money that He gifted us with. He doesn’t gift us with money to hoard for ourselves and when we do this, He is hurt by our hoarding. He wants me to give.
So back to this poor young woman, I rolled down my window and gave her a gift (of money). She was taken aback. She had no words. It wasn’t a large amount, but she was obviously surprised that someone gave her money. She stumbled on her words, “Oh my God, thank, Oh my, thank God.” I replied, “Merry Christmas.” As I drove away I thought – and you deserve it. You are God’s child and you deserve even more. My heart broke. Her eyes were filled with tears. She was hurting. I wanted to turn around and take her back to our condo. I wanted to buy her diapers for her child. I wanted to take her shopping. I felt there was so much more I needed to do for her. God stopped me there. I could feel that today I was called out of my comfort zone to give to this woman. God knew I would want to do more, but He also knew that I needed to take baby steps to work up to this point. You see, when you finally start to give with an open heart, you want to do more. You want to dive right in. Prayer is what I needed to do for this woman on top of my small monetary gift.
God, please protect this young woman and her baby. Please help her find the path with Your light. Don’t let anyone take advantage of her in this horrible position that she has found herself in. Let her be open to people helping her and let her accept the help with a grateful, loving heart. Find her a place of shelter, and open her soul to Your love. Remind me Lord that you need me to give of not only my time and talent, but of the treasure that you have entrusted me with. Help me stop judging and just give because that it what you need of me as your servant.
As I ended the day after Christmas on what I thought was a small shopping trip with my daughter, I realized that God had allowed me to exchange my gift of money for a bigger heart. I finally broke the barrier of judgment that I had clogged my heart with for so long. I finally could see the people on the side of the road as people. People of God. I could label them with tags like: drug abusers, sex offenders and alcoholics. I could label myself with all my sins too, but we all have one thing in common – we are worthy of God’s love regardless of our sins. It was the best Christmas gift ever. Thank you God for that very worthy lesson of love!