Monday, June 29, 2009

Those less fortunate

I'm staying in Chicago this week, and this morning, I got up around 6:30 am to take a stroll around the area. The Starbucks I discovered seemed a wonderful place to grab breakfast before I headed back to my room to get ready for the day. As I approached the door, a man standing outside asked me something about the homeless. Being accustomed to saying no to anyone standing on the street (especially near store doors), I immediately said, "No thank you" without even knowing what he asked. As I opened the door, he said, "a sandwich would be mighty nice."

That's when it hit me. It wasn't until then that I actually chose to see him this time. As I entered the door, I glanced back at a man with a dirty trash bag ripped down the side enough to see an old sleeping bag. He was holding a cup of coffee (likely from a kind soul that had entered before me).

I entered the shop and stood in line, and as I stood there, I thought, how dare I not spend a few dollars to help him out. Here I am walking to a Starbucks for breakfast (when breakfast is offered to me free back at the dorm), and I can't even give him something to eat? Wouldn't those few dollars be much better spent helping someone who is struggling than anything else I planned to spend it on? Thankfully, by the time I heard "next" I had decided to get him whatever I was getting myself, he deserved nothing less than what I was feeding myself (if not more). When I handed him the small amount for breakfast, he voiced that he was "mighty thankful" and told me to have a good day. May God bless that man today and always.

As I contemplated on the walk back to my room, I thought of how many other times I pass someone like him and keep walking. It's not like he was asking me to solve all his problems, he just asked for something to eat. How dare I consider feeding myself while he is hungry. So many times, we think someone else will do it. Today, standing in line, I thought, "who else is going to do it? I'm a youth minister, and I'm contemplating whether or not to help him."

Today, I challenge myself and anyone else reading this to help those around you. Put non-perishable food items in your trunk for the times you'll see some who needs help. Keep an extra blanket in your car to help keep him a little warmer each night as he lays on the street to sleep. It doesn't matter how they got there! The fact is they are there, and they need our help.

May God speak to our hearts when we see his children in need . . . and may we be willing to hear Him.