Saturday, October 29, 2011

Coming Up Short As A Christian.......

It was cold and windy and rainy in Knoxville all day yesterday.   Cindy and I left home around 2:00 to do some shopping that we couldn't put off any longer.

I drove through the nasty elements to our first stop; and when I reached the interstate, about five minutes from our home, I saw a man standing on the opposite ramp.  I could only see him from behind, as he faced the traffic that was exiting the superhighway.  He was slightly bent in his posture, as if he had been beaten down by life.  He was holding a sign for the oncoming traffic to see.  He was a pitiful, pathetic sight.  He was cold, soaked and alone.

We were able to see him standing there for only a few seconds as we passed by.  I wondered what was written on the sign.  Was he begging for a handout?  Was he willing to work for money or food?  We will never know, because we had passed by him so quickly. 

But, that terrible vision remained in our hearts all day.  When we returned home, we sat down and discussed our feelings about that solitary man in the wintry weather.

We have seen these poor people many, many times before.  Most are homeless.  All are in severe need of the basics of life.  Many are conflicted.  Many are addicted to drugs or alcohol.  Many are unable to stay on the right side of the law.

Nonetheless, they are human beings upon whom life has dealt terrible cards.  If I am truly honest with myself, I can say that, although I have been supremely blessed by God, I am, in reality, just one or two bad breaks away from being that man.  We all are, if we would be truthful with ourselves.

Jesus said that to help the downtrodden is to help HIM as well (Matthew 25:31---46).

Sitting in the warm comfort of our home last night discussing the fact that we call ourselves "Christians" while not doing what Jesus asked us to do for the less fortunate, I felt ashamed of myself for not trying to help that man. 

Of course, we do know the risks of doing that.....perhaps the man had a weapon and was dangerous.  Perhaps he was mentally ill and would be difficult to relate to.  If we gave him some money, perhaps he would use it to buy drugs...and so on.............

And, we know that we cannot help EVERYBODY who needs it.  What is the answer?


  1. This morning I have been thinking about that man. I regret that I did not contact someone/ANYONE to help him. I am going to find out whom to call when I see the next similar situation. I feel very guilty.

  2. There is no answer, years ago people would have stopped by and helped that poor man, but today there are people armed with guns, knives and other weapons. If you had given him money perhaps as you said it would have been used on drugs. One I suppose have to use their own judgement.I remember a few years ago a younf man was sat on the sidewalk with his dog begging for money to buy dog food, I passed by, went into the supermarket and bout a few cans of dog food........whether the money was for the dog I shall never know but I got a strange look from the young man.
    Enjoy your week-end.

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  4. Clint, I believe that keeping that man in prayer is helping him in the best way you can. Since it is difficult to remember everyone you want to pray for every time you pray I have a simple thing I do.....I put the prayer request on a post it note to God and stick it in my Bible somewhere, sometimes on a passage that means something about the person's situation and sometimes just in the front cover. Then when I pray and read the Bible I ask for God's answer to those prayer requests which I feel he is now in possession of because they are intermingled in his word. It makes me feel like I'm doing the best I can especially in situations where doing something else might be dangerous. After all His word also says "a wise man sees the danger and hides himself." I believe that means "hides in the Word" and what better place to put those prayer requests but directly in God's word. Have a wonderful day, Clint and Cindy.
    (sorry had to remove the first post as I misspelled a crucial word)

  5. I help a little bit at the Gospel Cafe in our town and we served a hot lunch to 237 people yesterday - some homeless, most displaced - all ages and races and states in life. One homeless man had been found dead the night before and those who knew him were in tears over his loss. The community shown by their grief was touching to me. Last night it was cold here and I was warm and safe, wondering about those men, women, and children and where they were. It's a hard issue.

  6. Clint there's no answer, the eye of God is unconditional assistance with no qualms or fears, to apply that principle today is too difficult, dangerous and, perhaps, for some people, useless.
    Do not feel guilty, do not be ashamed.
    Ciao, a hug!

  7. I've often struggled with these questions. Jesus did said that poor would be with us always, but He still expects us to help who we can.

    So we cannot help EVERYBODY, what is the answer? I think the answer is to be led by the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus was and all His followers. In order to be led by the Holy Spirit, we must be close to Him, talking to Him and always turning our hearts to Him, and ready to obey when He moves us. To some folks, we may say, "Silver and gold have I none," but we do have the life of Christ to offer. Truly, we always have something to give. To others we may not "say" or "do" anything, we just "are" help, such as the aroma of life to life to those who are being saved, and the aroma of death to death for those who are not.

  8. What an awesome post this morning Clint! How many times I have experienced exactly what you and your sweet other 1/2 experienced....the what if's and then the reason sets in to set me free from guilt...I like Carol Blackburns' reply...prayer give him $20 buck may indulge one into a nasty habit or it could buy him a hot breakfast to fill an empty aching belly ...being led by the Spirit is sometimes difficult b/c we fail to recognize his voice over our own ....and I am as you ... I am, in reality, just one or two bad breaks away from being that man....Sending smiles and hugs from Little River County Arkansas

  9. If he had asked for money or help I might stop and give, but as it is we don't know if he needed help or not. I think like Cindy said, it is good to have the number of the highway authority or somebody that we could call in the next instances that we see a similar situation.

  10. That is a tough one. I figure anyone standing out - holding a sign - especially in the rain - must have a need. Then again you were going the opposite way and what if he was dangerous?

    I used to kind of pass some of them by years ago. Now if I pass someone or someone asking for a donation - I always give it. Just a dollar of two. I made a promise to God.

    And grandson is usually with me - so I really stop and give a $1 to show him. He makes me have much more of a conscious.

    Once we past an old woman - who must have been put out of these weekly apartments. She was black. Sitting on a bench with all her surroundings by her which was not much.

    We were in a hurry - the daughter - the grandson and myself to get to dinner - we were starving. How do you like that - we just were so hungry we past this older woman sitting on a bench with all her things.

    We started talking about it at the restaurant and decided to drive all the way back - put our money together and give her what we had.

    It was late and we wanted to get home - but we did it and Andy actually got out and gave it to her and she looked cold so he gave her the blanket from our car.

    She said God bless us - and she told Andy to do good in school and stay in school.

    That was the best $100 lesson we ever got - and think about what it taught Andy.

    Now we don't always do that of course - but we really felt driven that particular time.

    I don't know if that helps - but maybe it was a wake up call to get you to think.


  11. thoughtful post. it's so true, we could all be that person. i guess the answer is to pray for them and help where we feel we can. when i worked in the city i used to bring extra granola bars to give them.

  12. There are so many poor people wandering about this world, sometimes through their own fault, other times not.
    I often wish I could get them all together and look after them.

  13. As an ex-cop, I know that today there does exist many real hazards in bringing an unknown person into your personal home or stopping to help. That's a tough one that only God can convict a person to act upon. A few weeks ago my wife and I stopped to help out a young couple with a baby who was stranded on a busy street corner. They needed gas and food to complete their trip. We took them into a grocery store and bought them some food and put a tank of gas in their car.

    However, I have come across really rough looking duds who I would not feel comfortable in subjecting me or my family to. Praying seems to help in which one's I stop for and which one's I drive right by. Only God can read the heart and He does not want His children to take unnecessary risk when it comes to doing His will. With so many home invasions and car jackings going on anymore... real caution is needed. God bless, Lloyd

  14. You gave the answer: we cannot help EVERYBODY who needs it, but to give one person: a smile, help, little pocketmoney s.o. is a good thing and makes that person happy.

    Greetings my dear friend and take care

  15. Before I even read anybody else's comments, only you know the answer to this question Clint. I also realize I can't help everyone out there who is in need but when I can help I do. I've also decided to give back through educating myself in a profession that I can give back and possibly help others to learn how to help themselves, self determination goes a long way. I might suggest if time permits that maybe you do some type of volunteer work, that way you can give back and feel good about what you're doing, it's a lot safter in my opiion and without volunteers where would our societies be? Have a great week!