Did I lend a hand to help the poor and excluded today?
When I am driving and stop at a red light where there is a man or woman (or sometimes a child) asking for money to help their situation, I often find myself torn between offering them a few dollars or leaving the window rolled up and going on my way. I hear both sides of the debate — am I enabling someone to continue down a path that I don’t think of as good or healthy, or am I simply offering a helping hand to the person in front of me who is in need?
I recall a story that a priest once related about being called the “eight-dollar priest”. The priest said that he places eight one-dollar bills in a separate section of his wallet each morning and designates that money for whomever may cross his path that day in need. He said that some days he hands out one dollar to eight people, and other days, he gives out all eight dollars to one person he meets. There was no grand plan or method to how the money was distributed — the priest just looked people in the eye as they came up to him and he responded with what he believed each person really needed. The priest also said that the best thing we can receive is a blessing from a poor person after we have given them our small offerings.
It is really that simple. At the end of the day, there is a person in front of me who needs my help, that needs to be seen and their needs recognized. Each of us, no matter our circumstances or past behaviors, is a child of God that needs to be given dignity by others reaching out and offering help to meet their needs. When someone approaches me for help, I pray that God will give me the mercy and grace to look them in the eye, offer them what I can, and gratefully receive any blessing they may choose to give me. At the end of the day, I am allowing God’s love to flow through me to them, and for that love to be returned to me — that endless loop of grace that is represented by the Trinity.
How did I help the poor and excluded today?
Thank you, Lord, for all of the blessings that You have given me and for allowing me to help my neighbors in need. Please give me the strength and courage to be Your hands and feet to meet the needs of others. Authentically Yours