Homeless people wander the streets of the greater Houston, Texas, area.
Many carry signs that read, Will work for food, Hungry, Need help, and Will work for beer. Others don’t carry signs, but stand at intersections near the freeways that snake through and around town or walk up and down concrete medians asking for handouts. Their clothes are dirty, ill-fitting, and inadequate for bad weather. Their hair is unkempt and their skin darkened by the grit the city produces.
I’ve never given money, but I have driven to the closest fast food place, bought something, and taken it to the person asking for help. I’ve only had a few people start to turn me down, but when I said, “If you don’t want it …” they accepted it.
As a hospice nurse, I never had time to stop for a meal. I packed easily-managed snacks and sliced fruit in a small insulated cooler so I could grab something as I drove between patients’ houses.
One evening on my way home, I saw an elderly man on a street corner by the interstate. I rolled down my window. He hurried over. I handed him the only thing I had left: a granola bar. He gave me a wide smile that showed no teeth. I said, “Oh, no! I’m sorry.”
He shook his head. “That’s okay. I’ll suck on it until it’s soft. Thank you.”
As Christ-followers, we ask God when He’s going to take care of poverty, illness, homelessness, and violence. “Somebody needs to do something” is our cry. My sister asks, “How can you tell someone to pull themselves up by their boot straps when they don’t have any boots?”
We can’t do everything, but we can do something. I’m not in a position to purchase meals as I once did. But I do know a small thing—a smile, a compliment—can change someone’s day. It costs nothing to be nice.
We are the answer to who and when. Me and you. Right now. Think of one way you can be Jesus’ hands and feet.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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