I pulled in to the parking lot of Mardel, a Christian education supply store, and began to unload my children. Suddenly from out of no where a tiny, frail, elderly woman popped up behind me and began telling me about all her hardships. She was not your typical older woman. She had no perfectly sculpted hair. No dainty fingernails painted bright. No warm soft clothing covering her aging body. No sweetness in her smile. She was filthy. She was tired. She was sickly. She was tired of this world and the battles it has handed her.
A few moments in to our conversation she asked me if I could help her. She was living in Amarillo receiving cancer treatments and she desperately wanted to continue staying in her motel room that she could no longer afford. I told her that of course I could help and handed her the largest bill in my wallet, which was a ten.
We said our goodbyes and she left. I finished unloading my children and headed in to the store. We had no needs in Mardel. We were simply going there to kill time and look around. Of course we would buy whatever fun and cute thing we wanted and then we would head home to our warm safe house and continue on with our happy little life. I have no idea what the rest of day looked like for the little old woman, but I pray that she was ok.
As we were walking in to Mardel, my middle son asked, "Mom, why did you give her money? She's probably lying to you!" First of all, let me interject here that no matter how much you shelter your children, the world's views and opinions still get to them. This gave me the perfect opportunity to tell him, "Maybe she is. Maybe she isn't. But Jesus has told me to give to those who ask and she asked."
My husband recently ran across this quote by C. S. Lewis, his hero, and shared it with me. It says all that my heart feels when I see a needy person asking for help:
" It will not bother me in the hour of death to reflect that I have been 'had for a sucker' by any number of impostors; but it would be a torment to know that I had refused even one person in need."
As Christmas and winter approach, the needy in your area and my area will be more and more likely to begin asking for help. The streets can be a little kinder in the spring, summer, and fall, but the cold cannot be ignored. I just want to encourage you to be a cheerful giver. And just when you are thinking that maybe you've given enough I want you to remember this quote:
C. S. Lewis says, "Charity--giving to the poor--is an essential part of Christian morality. . . I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them."
I wish I had could say that our family does without some of the luxuries of life because we have given so much away, but hopefully that can be our goal for this upcoming year. :)