Blessed are You Who are Poor

luke6

It was New Year’s Day.  It was cold and too much time had spent inside.  We all needed out.  So, naturally we loaded up our crew and took a drive around town.  We needed gas before we could get too far so we stopped at a little convenient store.

Many, many times we have been stopped by the poor and needy to loan a dollar or two and most of those time we try to do something.  It’s not always money.  Recently, Husband and I were on a lunch date and were stopped by a man asking for money to help him buy some nice pants to wear to a job interview.  Who knew if his story was legit, sometimes they’re not, regardless, Husband took him to the store to buy him a couple pairs of pants.

Our oldest daughter noticed a man just the other day in a local restaurant we were eating at sitting alone in a booth with nothing but water.  She decided to buy his meal.

I often drive by one of our local universities on my errand running route.  I had noticed a short, older woman picking pecans several days in a row.  One cold morning she was at it again, so I stopped and helped her gather pecans.  The windshield of her truck had been busted out by vandals and she needed money to buy a new one.  We picked up lots of pecans that morning.  I hope she had enough to pay for the repair and then some.

This happens frequently to us as I’m sure it does to you.  We can’t turn a corner without seeing someone in need.  My PaPa loved helping the poor.  Once, he gave a homeless man his shoes….off his feet.

But this one was different.

Several years ago when I was a new stay-at-home mom a man came to our front door.  In the house we lived in we had a glass door in front of our big door.  I kept that big door opened most of the time while I was home to let some sunshine in.  Anyway, I was working in our office which was just off to the left of the front door.  Someone knocked unexpectedly and it startled me.  I jumped from the office and saw a strange man peeking through that glass door.  I slammed the big door in his face.  Literally.  I slammed it in his face.  I felt horrible after that.  I was ashamed and embarrassed that I did not even give the man a chance to explain who he was or what he needed.  Simply by the way he looked, I assumed he was bad and deserved a door slammed in his face.  I felt really bad.  I just knew I had slammed the door on the face of Jesus…except that the man started yelling explicits at me as soon as the door shut.  Jesus don’t talk that way!

Her eyes.  I sat cozy and toasty in my warm car; my buns burning from the heated seat.  I was wearing the only appropriate New Year’s Day attire:  fleece cheetah pajamas pants, an oversized t-shirt, a long chunky sweater and wool-lined UGGs {don’t worry; we weren’t getting out of the car}.  She confidently approached our car.

It was freezing outside, the sun was setting and the winds were picking up.  Her thin coat that hung to about mid-thigh was not enough to keep her warm.  Husband was pumping gas as I sat watching at her.  About the time she reached the driver side of the car she turned her head and made contact with my eyes.  I smiled.  She smiled.  I watched as she began to ask Husband for some money.  I didn’t hear his response but assumed he would give her something.

She smiled again as she politely walked away from our car.  She stood outside the convenient store, arms crossed.  Under her coat she wore a top and a longer skirt…and bare legs. She also had on a horribly uncomfortable pair of pumps {do we still use that term?}.  I just kept thinking, she must be freezing.  Her toes and BARE legs must be numb.  How can she possibly be standing outside?

Husband got back in the car and I asked what her story was.  He proceeded to tell me that she was asking for five bucks to buy a bus ticket.  Oh.  So, you gave it to her, right?  No.  He didn’t have any cash on him.

Typically this wouldn’t be a big deal.  We don’t and can’t help every single person asking for money.  I just looked at him as my heart sank.  I looked in the back seat of the car and saw 5 pairs of little eyes looking back at us.  I just started weeping as I began to take my sweater off to give her.  At least she would be a little warmer.  I don’t know what came over me.  Her eyes?  Her story?  Her bare legs?   I didn’t know her past or her future.  I didn’t know if she were a druggie or a prostitute or a thief or a professional beggar.  All I knew is that she was alone, FREEZING, and needed a mere five bucks.  Husband jumped back out of the car, ran inside, bought gum and got cash back.  He gave her some money {and some gum} just as the greyhound was pulling in.  I stayed in the car and ended up keeping my sweater, all the same my eyes were opened to see her from a higher, heavenly perspective.

I kept my eyes on her until she had disappeared behind the tinted windows of the bus.  I was sitting in luxury and she was sitting in hell.  My tears came from a place of shame and complacency and a deep desire to reflect/resemble/look a little bit like Jesus and from a place of realization that I had so far to go.  I was so comfortable with my warm and fluffy little life and man, was I convicted at that moment.

No ONE deserves a slammed door in the face and no one deserves a cynical attitude from the chick wrapped up in her warm clothes and toasty pride.  Every person:  good, bad, ugly, sinful, broken, lost, sick, hopeless, wounded, rich or poor deserves the everlasting love of Jesus Christ and an opprotunity to experience His healing and restoration.

 

La maison