On the way home from shopping, Mr. H. and I passed a rather young man standing beside the road holding a sign that read:
“Need help. Please help feed my children. God Bless you!”
It bothered me that not one car stopped! It was as if the man were invisible. But as each car passed, he waved and smiled. It touched my heart. I smiled back. However, I had left the house, as I often do, without cash. I had my checkbook and credit card but regretted not being able to stop and give the man a little something.
Later, when I told a member of my family how much it bothered me, he said, “Don’t ever stop for anyone like that!”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because there are ‘Help Wanted’ signs at every gas station and convenience store! If a person wants to earn money, he can. Truth is, what he probably wanted was money to buy beer… or drugs.”
“What do you have in place of a heart?” I asked.
“I’m serious.” He said. “Besides, you could get yourself killed doing that!”
My mouth O’d at the very thought!
But later, when I was alone, I thought about the man with the sign again. And I remembered what my dad used to say about beggars. It was common, when I was a child, for people to knock on your door and ask for food or money. My dad never turned anyone away empty-handed.
He said, “It doesn’t matter why a man does it, or what he does with the money you give him – that’s on his conscience. What matters is that you want to help him. Furthermore, God sees you and rewards you for it!” My dad often quoted Hebrews 13:2. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
I have no doubt my dad would have stopped to give the man a few dollars. And despite the risks, that’s what I’ll do next time.
Even if I have to write a check.