Thanksgiving is such a good time to sit and think about what you are thankful for. We had our kids go through their list of things. We feel unbelievably blessed.
After we did that exercise, it brought a story to my mind. About 4 years ago, we lived in California and we were dirt poor. We had downsized quite a bit. It was a great way to live out some of the sacrifices we feel we have been called to make (and yet we are still so blessed!).
I took the boys to the park every Tuesday. Merrick had just turned 4 and Ethan was 1 1/2. I was alone in a new city and got a bit nervous each time I was out (for the fear of getting lost- not fear of people).
Well, one day we decided to try a new park. We pulled up and ended up being the only people there. It was right before lunch time. We got out of the car and headed straight for the swings.
Then, a homeless man came out of the bathroom. It looked like he had just cleaned himself up a bit. He went to the picnic table and sat down all alone. He rummaged through his bags (which I had failed to notice until now). He had a long scruffy beard. He had this expression though... one of resolve. He wasn't having a pity party. He wasn't begging. He was just one of those guys that seemed to be in a situation that he had never thought in his wildest dreams he would be in.
As we prepared to leave about an hour later, the man barely glanced up. Maybe he thought he would scare us or something. I had that nagging feeling like I should go talk to him. You know that nudging. I put the boys in the car and grabbed a water bottle and $10. I'm not usually the one who gives out cash to the homeless because too many times I feared it was spent on things not good. I'm telling you, I didn't see that in this guy.
I walked back over to him and accidentally startled him. I told him that I felt like I was supposed to give him the water and the money. He replied with " I wasn't asking for anything". I said "I know, but I want to do this". Then I walked off and yelled back "God bless you!". The man smiled. His tough exterior had weakened a bit.
I got in the car and Merrick asked "Why did you give that man that water bottle?". I told him what being homeless meant. He then asked " Was that Jesus, mommy?" (At that time they believed that everyone with a beard was Jesus). I started to answer no and then I instead said "yes". I explained how it was just like giving to Jesus.
He was so tickled that I had given water to Jesus! The reason I said yes was because of this verse: Matthew 25:40- “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
So, go GIVE to the least!! I'm going to take my own advice on that one too. What can you give this holiday season that will be a sacrifice for you? How can you give out of your need rather than your excess? That is the challenge!