Monday, May 24, 2010

Reaching out

Last Friday I was on my way to an appointment when I saw a man at an intersection asking for help.  Sadly, this is not an uncommon sight.

<< Rewind<<  A while ago I became discontent.  Driving by these people every week I wondered what I could do.  As a Christian, am I not supposed to be helping the less fortunate?  Many thoughts of safety and questions of actions went through my mind.  I continued to drive by these people and be reminded of my discontent.  I was frustrated with the call/desire to help but no idea how.  I kept praying.

Finally, I had an idea - gift cards - a practical way to help, while not risking money being spent on drugs or alcohol.  So I decided to make a care package of sorts.  I bought some gift cards to healthy-ish food places and put it in a card with an encouraging note.  I, of course, do not want to meet only someone's physical need but want to make sure I minister to their spiritual need as well.  So in the card I included a small book that explains the Gospel.  I made a few of these care packs and put them in my glove compartment so they would always be handy.  My hope was that this care package communicates that someone cares about them and that they have worth, ministering to their felt-need and their real need.

>>Flash forward>>  I decide to pull over and give one of these care packages to this man.  I parked and crossed the street.  I shook his hand, introduced myself, and asked him about his situation.  His name is Ronnie.  He has some kind of blood disease and lost half of one of his legs.  He is unemployed, thus the reason he was out there.  I gave him the card and explained I had to go because I was on my way to an appointment.  I told him I would pray for him.  He was very grateful.

I wanted to ask you to say a quick prayer for him too.

I also challenge you to think about how you can reach out to others in need.  Will you make care packs like mine?  Will you get creative and think of other ways to reach out to others in need?  If you do come up with other ideas I would like to hear them, so tell me about them.  Of course asking God to provide for others is good.  But we have to beware that we are not praying for God to provide for those in need only through other people.  If we have the ability would not our faith and love move us to take action ourselves and be the answer to our own (and others') prayers?  James 2:15–16 (ESV) says, "If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?"  I would be so bold as to say that if we have the ability to reach out to others in need and are praying for God to provide for them, yet are not taking any action personally, then we are lying to ourselves and to God in that we really do not want God to provide for them.  So ask God how you can help others in need...and do it!

1 comment:

Frank Fortino said...

Great idea Katrina and something I may do. I have always had dollar bills available and keep some in a compartment of my car and always in my pocket. I go by the belief that it is not for us to judge if we give people money, but they will be judged by God if a gift is given and they do not use it for its intended purpose. If they ask for food, and the money is spent on drugs or alcohol, they will be judged.

In the past I would always walk up and present them with 3 dollar bills and as I present them to them one at a time, I say "these are gifts provided from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." It's interesting how some will complete the phrase with me. Then they have it on their heart to do the right thing.
God bless you and keeping you in our prayers.