Whilst driving to work one morning – which provides the opportunity for a spiritual think tank to run in the background as I’m piloting my vehicle – it was impressed upon me that there are so many people in need, at various points in the continuum of lacking. And that as a Christian it behoves me to be ready to feel for and help in any way I can.
The song by Rebecca St James reminded me that it is my duty as a Believer to help those that are in need. And, truth be told, I don’t do it deliberately and often. For the following reasons: I feel embarrassed seeing people in a pickle, and it seems dehumanising in a way because of the social embarrassment and because to the person offering a few bucks, it seems like the bloke in poverty only wants your money and for you to sod off fairly smartly thereafter, a transaction devoid of warmth. Obviously it’s not supposed to be like that so I must be doing it wrong.
I thought of a story that I haven’t thought about in years, the ‘Little Match Girl’ by Hans Christian Andersen. The idea of people in poverty is overwhelming because for every one you may help, thousands cry out in vain for relief. And this idea is especially uncomfortable at Christmas time.
I also think of people at Christmas who have loved ones fading away in hospital dying of horrible diseases and those who are bearing fresh grief. Poverty might also seem preferable.
So, my plan is to dial down any natural jerk I have going on and be more patient, to get my mind in a position to not say an automatic ‘no’ to those who may ask for something, to keep something in the car, like a bag of clothes or munchies or water to give to those on the street. And to visit those in hospital that I know in my social circle.
I suck at it most times but I really do want to be a blessing.