While mom and I were on the way to dinner yesterday there was a homeless man in the median. I didn't really look at his sign or hear his pitch, but I could tell he needed some help. Usually I am anti-giving money to people who stand in the median. I am not anti-giving money in general, I just think that the median is kind of a dangerous place to be standing and I don't want to encourage the behavior. However, I thought fast and remembered that I had an apple in my purse from earlier. I asked the gentleman if he wanted it and he said he would. I gave it to him and he smiled and thanked me. He told me his name was James and to pray for him.
Now the thought of James keeps popping up in my head. I have prayed for him several times since I met him briefly. I especially prayed for him today, as today's church service was all about the power of prayer and healing. But still I keep wondering how James is doing and if anyone else gave him anything and if there is anything more that I could have done.
As my faith has grown and I have progressed in my own spiritual journey I find myself wanting to give more and more. Many people who are not Christians or who are not strong in their understanding of of Christianity believe that you do all these good deeds and that will get you into heaven. This is not true. In my view, you do good deeds and things for others because of your love of God, and what he has done for you. I do good things because I care about others. I do the right things because people have helped me when I needed it, and sometimes they were strangers.
In turn, I feel a dilemma at times in that I feel like simply giving an apple or a granola bar or some money is not nearly enough. I try to give when I can, but I can't always. Sometimes I wonder if the person that I just walked past or I maybe pretended like I didn't hear really could have used my help. Maybe it didn't need to be money, maybe it could have been a word of encouragement, a prayer, or maybe just the fact to be acknowledged as a human being would have been sufficient. And always in the back of my mind I think maybe this is Jesus who I just walked by, I mean really you never know.
So next time you are out and you walk past or drive by your own James maybe you will think twice.