My day began focused on the importance of sharing food with those in need and now has been capped off by a related incident. Except this time, I was not the giver, I was the object of the compassion.
This morning, We Will Go hosted a lively, bright, adorable group of 1st Graders from Davis Elementary School right here on our street. They have been studying the idea that we all live on one planet and need to share the resources we have. One area they are specifically focusing on is the need to give food to those in need, hence, their visit to We Will Go to donate food and learn how we're helping those who are hungry in our city
I had a fun time getting to know the kids and loved telling them not only about what we do here, with some great help from my two youngest kids and fellow missionary Ashley, but also about the hunger situation in Swaziland and what groups are doing through carepoints to provide food for children living in extreme poverty. God directed the morning and I think that for some of the kids, and their teachers, the light bulb really went off and they're going to be more aware of how blessed they are and how much they have to share with those in need.
So fast forward ahead to tonight. After a busy day of meeting my neighbors at the Democratic Party office just down the street from our house, walking around to do some errands, and hosting a group from Mississippi College, the family had supper and then Jim and I went on a prayer walk through our area.
As the sun had already set and a cold snap has hit, it was really, really frigid out there. We've had neighbors --- homeless folks and those just in need of warmer gear --- coming on a regular basis to ask for blankets, warm clothes, coats, and sleeping bags. It is also near the end of the month and so money is getting tight for many and we've been giving out lots of food to hungry folks.
Near the end of our walk, as we came around the north side of the historic Greenwood Cemetery, walking along Davis Street, a car slowed down and pulled up alongside of us. It was an attractive black lady and she wanted to know if we were from this neighborhood and if we were okay. We told her that "we live here" and then she asked if we were missionaries from We Will Go. We said we were. She said she was stopping to see if we needed any food or help, she had a plate sitting next to her in the car. She said it was some extra food she had. She knew how cold it was and just wanted to make sure "people" were okay. After we chatted for a couple of minutes and found out she owned a house nearby, we asked if we could pray for her. She asked us to please pray for her to find a job.
Yes, you heard that right.
This lady stopped on a very dark and intensely cold night to offer strangers food while she herself is in need of a job.
She reminds me of the Bible story about the widow who dropped just a little bit in the offering box at the temple while rich people where giving much more with lots of pomp and circumstance. Jesus praised her for her generosity despite her circumstances.
How often do I only give out of my abundance? How often do I stop and consider if I can afford to share something before I give it away? How often in the past have I let fear keep me from helping others? How often have I only wanted to help those who I felt like deserved my help?
So I began my day telling kids how important it is to share with those in need and had my day finished up with a sweet, unemployed lady stopping to ask me, a stranger walking through a sketchy neighborhood, if I was okay and willing to share her food with me if I needed it.
Oh Lord, help me always be so willing to stop. Help me always be willing to help.
"Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?"