I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while (really since Wednesday) but I haven’t had the time to. My week has been super hectic in such an amazing way. I’ve been going back and forth to Philly, taking a lot of classes and trying to find a place, so I’ll be really happy to finally settle in next week.
I’ve been to Philly 5 days out of the past week and two of those days I took the train. Taking the train is expensive, but at least I don’t have to worry about driving and parking. On the way back to the train station from class one day I saw a man sitting on the street with a cup in his hand.
I haven’t really pinned down the method (is that the right word to use?) for dealing with beggars. I recently heard a sermon about Peter and John at the Beautiful Gate. I’ve also read the CU BC manual for seniors that has a section on charity where it says somethings about homeless men and women that I just fundamentally (and sometimes, angrily) disagree with. Admittedly, I still haven’t figured out a satisfactory way to do this kind of charity.
Seeing the guy from far off, I went in my wallet to look for some cash. It was one of those crazy days when I had cash. I reached for the dollar bill and then decided instead to give him a five. (There were two reasons for this. One was that I felt bad giving him only a dollar and the other was because I wanted to feel like I had done something good. Maybe that’s the same reason.) As I started to walk away he asked me a question.
I didn’t hear him at first so he repeated it. Again, I didn’t really understand what he was saying. Finally, I understood. “Do you know Jesus?” Of course, the answer was yes. Just look at the ‘Religion’ part of my Facebook profile (I’m listed as a Follower of Jesus which reminds me of this quiz my friend sent me. Don’t worry, I scored low)! After this exchange I said “God bless” (you know, to reinforce the point that I knew Jesus) and then I walked away. And as I sat on the train I was ashamed of the whole exchange.
I don’t know what put that man in the position to be sitting on the street asking people for money. When I went back to that location on Friday, he wasn’t there. All I know is that a man who had nothing had the audacity to offer me something. Because that’s what evangelism is, offering something that’s worth more than anything money could ever buy.
The reason this post has an alternate title is because I’m just not that awesome/cool/baller/nice/whatever. Because no matter how much money I had been willing to give, I still wasn’t willing to do anything. Throwing money at a problem doesn’t make you good, it makes you fortunate. That man showed me a level of boldness that I never would have expected or thought possible. And he showed me what it truly means to be a follower of Jesus. And I’m really thankful for that. And I hope that I can learn to imitate his boldness.