Last night I visited the supermarket and found myself dodging the few who choose to make supermarkets their base for begging or requesting a dollar. I am usually annoyed by their bold approach and their eagerness to confront you. Personally, I feel the need to escape because 1. they never smell clean and I am super sensitive to unpleasant cents, 2. they convey such pity and sadness on their faces that it is hard to bear, and sometimes I do question their sincerity. 3. I don’t like the feeling of being stalked or harrassed and finally, 4. I don’t want to give my money to someone who would use it to buy alcohol or illegal drugs. It is much easier for me to buy someone a meal; something I have done before.
This struggle is experienced weekly. Some larger supermarkets are less tolerant of the “beggars” but you can still find them at the outskirts of the compound. It is not a pleasant sight but it is the reality of our lives. I find myself thinking about them quite a lot; what’s their story? Why are they begging? Who are they related to? What went wrong? Of course, in order to get the answers, research into their background will be necessary; this could take days.
I call them “beggars” because I can easily describe the group of persons I am writing about by using that name. I do know however, that they are not just “beggars”; they are human beings with a name; maybe, it’s Andy, David, Sarah, Shantel or Kennedy. Whatever their names, they were created by a loving God and he cares about their well being. Unfortunately, many times we are more concerned about them being a nuisance to society.
At the Supermarket last night, there was one I couldn’t dodge. I did my shopping and began walking towards my vehicle. I noticed him from the corner of my eye; he used clutches as a result of loosing one leg. I felt his eyes observing my every move, trying to read my facial expressions and body language, while hoping I would notice him. I did notice him but was careful not to make it obvious. I unlocked my vehicle and quickly secured myself inside. As I prepared to back up, I looked up and there he was in front of my vehicle signaling with his index finger for one (1) dollar.
I resisted and backed out of the drive way but I couldn’t leave. I felt that I couldn’t or shouldn’t ignore his plea. I quickly pulled back into another available parking lot and searched for a $5.00 bill, but to no avail. I only had $20’s and $50’s in my purse. I considered giving him twenty but I was unsure for many reasons. Next to me there was a little slot where I would drop change from time to time; after searching, I was able to give him about four dollars in coins. I was touched by how his face was immediately transformed with a huge smile; he looked like a little child receiving a toy he wished for. He closed his fist around the precious coins, said thank you, and quickly walked away. I must say that receiving such smiles and words of appreciation from the “begging” community is rare. Who knows, maybe if I knew his story, I would understand the happiness he felt. I left the supermarket feeling fulfilled and at peace.
I believe God spoke to me to reach out to that man. Understand though, that God does not have to speak to us before we share with someone. It is just something we should be doing as part of life. However, we must be wise and we need to be able to practice discernment. Sadly, many who beg, do not need money, but what they may need is deliverance from being addicted to alcohol or drugs, demon possession, generational curses, poverty and the list goes on. I suggest we ask God for wisdom daily so that we are always alert to these encounters and we never take the “beggar” for granted. We need to see “beggars” as human beings created by a God who loves them just the way He loves us. It is no easy thing to practice but we can all change and we can all grow to be more like Christ.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.