Panhandling

So the doorbell rings.  I answer it.

A tall, thin, kindly-looking older man is standing there. He has his Missouri non-driver ID in his hand.

“I’m about to get panhandled,” I think.

I step outside onto the porch.  Samson joins me.  The guys leans down and scratches the pup’s ears.

“Hello.  My name is John,” he starts as he shows me his license.  “I think I did some work for you three or four years ago, right?”

“No, and I remember you told me that last you stood here, around Halloween.”

Then the song and dance starts in full.  The lady around the corner just had me mow her yard.  I worked for your neighbor cleaning the garage.  Is there anything I can do to tide me over for a few days?  He pulls out a credit card to verify his identity.

I assure him there isn’t, that I’m self-sufficient.  Sam and I make for the front door.

He pulls out his toiletries, in a plastic bag, to show me he’s homeless.  He did the same thing six months ago.

I thank him kindly for his offer, and firmly close the door.

Living in the city, especially in the central city, one expects to asked for help on occasion.  I struggle with how to respond, though.  I don’t want to be an easy mark.  I also want to believe that people really need the help.

I’m comfortable and blessed, so I focus some of my ‘share the gift’ giving on local organization that I think can be helpful, especially a local food bank.  I give unwanted items and clothing to the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  Do I do enough?  Should I have done more in this case?

“‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ ”
~ Matthew 25.35-40.

How hard it is at times to be the reflection of Christ in daily life.

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