I gave four dollars to a homeless woman yesterday.
I saw her and knew I had to do it. I got out my wallet. I pulled out two dollars. Then I pulled out the other two. Four dollars-all I had. My heart conversation with God went something like this:
God- “Give her your money. She has a child to feed.”
Me-“But God! I have been saving those dollar bills. You know I don’t have a lot of extra money. I was going to use that for me!”
God- “She needs it more.”
Me-“Fine. I’ll give her two.”
God- “No. All of it.”
I argued with God over four bucks. FOUR measly bucks.
You see, I often like Starbucks more than taking care of the least of these.
And that is pathetic.
The act of giving money to the homeless or to beggars that frequent the major intersections of every city brings out opinions in people. I have an opinion about it myself. And my opinion is different from what it used to be.
For years, I ignored the cardboard signs filled with sad stories. I busied myself with the radio. I checked my phone. I found comfort in having on sunglasses where they couldn’t see my eyes.
After all, they are the HOMELESS. They could be dangerous. They could be lying. I don’t even know them.
But my God knows them… by name.
Andy and I had our hearts changed about giving to people on the street while we lived in Waco. You see, in Waco, next to that beautiful, large Christian university that costs $30,000 a year, there are a lot of homeless people. Go figure. We had two sets of friends that modeled and inspired us to change the way that we believed. We saw these friends give food, friendly conversation, and money. We saw these friends be obedient. We saw them love.
I’ll admit, the money really bothered me at first. You know why. We have probably all thought it…I don’t know what they are going to buy with that money! I mean, they might by BEER.
Um, so what.
Here is what I learned and truly believe: As a Christian, I cannot ignore these people. They are exactly who Jesus would spend time with. All of my hiding behind my sunglasses leaves me ashamed.
Instead of hiding now, I pray. I listen. I don’t give every time. Sometimes I don’t feel like God wants me to. Sometimes I just don’t have any money.
As for worrying about what they are going to do with the cash, I just DON’T. It's a beautiful freedom. If God says to give, I give.
Really, I just feel like that "they'll buy something bad" excuse was just that-a big, fat excuse for myself. Thank goodness others don’t sit around and worry about how I spend the money in my bank account. Because sometimes, I BUY BEER.
I fully realize that what I gave out of my car window was a small gesture. I didn't change the world. But for a second, I loved someone else more than I loved myself, and it was right.
I gave four dollars to a homeless woman yesterday. And I’ll do it again.