Good Deed (not so good thoughts)
Panhandlers, homelessness, and neighbors asking for help is a hard thing to ignore. In fact, it’s visible on every major street and almost every are of commerce… and they almost refuse to be ‘ghosted’ by the general public. That being said, and I am also guilty of it at times, no matter the hour we are getting off on our exit my neighbors and I are often met with someone panhandling at the stop light that we are always forced to stop at and boldly walk up to our windows and just stare waiting. Now I’d like to say that I always roll my window down, along with my neighbors, and give… but too often we look away or just straight ahead… looking out the corner of our eyes hoping they move on to the next car.
Most of time I don’t carry cash or have spare change in the car… that’s the symptom of living in a digital world where we barely hold an actual printed book, much less liquidated finances. However, we know that we will be faced with someone in need at least once (if not more daily)… so shouldn’t we be prepared to help knowing that?
This past Saturday I had given up on my project in our backyard due to it being a bit too much for me to do by myself and postponed it a wee, (expect a blog on that soon) so I had a bit of my day back. I made my way down to the mall and walked around for a bit, did a little window shopping, picked up a few things… put them back because I really didn’t need it, and then went to my favorite Georgia restaurant for liver and onions… Piccadilly’s. When I was walking in I was met with… you guessed, someone asking for help. He asked if I had any spare change, to which I responded “Sorry, I don’t carry cash.” To which he replied, “well… would you mind buying me some food?” I told him to come on that I would…
Now to the point of the title of this blog…
I really wasn’t “feeling it” on that day… My original plans hadn’t worked out meaning my backyard makeover would take longer and cost more than I originally planned. I was missing my wife a bit, as she is away visiting her family. And, just a general ere of not wanting to be bothered. I’ll blame it on the lack of coffee. But really… it was something else.
J’erome, my unexpected dinner guest, was asking me how it worked and I explained he got a meat and two sides of his choice, and I saw him eyeing the most expensive meat on the line… the prime rib. You already know what I was thinking. We get to the end of the line and I had passed up getting a drink, but he didn’t. Then a well-dressed guy came up to us and smacked J’erome on the back and said “you got someone to help you out? HA… you won’t forget the guy in a pink shirt will you? (I was wearing a pink polo) They jested back and forth for a minute as I went to get the check. I had gotten my meal to go as did he, but he asked if he could eat in the restaurant. I told him sure, but I would have to pay for it first and let them know his meal was paid for as I couldn’t stay because I had somewhere else I needed to get to. Which I did! But, if I’m honest I don’t think I would’ve stayed if I didn’t have an appointment with my barber to get to.
I wanted to ask the well-dressed guy why if he had noticed J’erome he didn’t help him? Obviously he had been there for a while, in fact I was told him that they had given him their leftovers. Which annoys me on another level. When helping someone don’t give them your leftovers, that says more of what you think they’re worth than helps them. I wanted to ask why J’erome felt so okay with getting the prime rib, an extra side, a desert, and a drink… when he clearly saw what I ordered. And, at the same time I wanted to communicate my displeasure at the restaurant employee’s attitude towards him while I was taking care of his meal.
That was some conflicting thought patterns, right?
The point: My “good deed” was null and void from the onset. There wasn’t anything righteous or holy about it plain and simple. I only helped out because he caught me with asking me to buy his food, instead of just money to maybe buy food. My attitude towards the whole situation (though internal) was one more out of obligation than as a representative of Christ. Yes, a man was fed. Yes, a need was met. However, I submit to you this:
God will use any situation towards His good, however we must always check our hearts and minds before we enter into someone else’s story. Whether our deeds be intentional or happenstance we should always strive to complete them in the fullness of Kingdom Living, Gospel Freeing, and Heart felt Love for our Neighbors.
And that’s Pastor J… just being raw.