Creating Opportunities | Ben
The story begins with myself driving a route that I do often. I was hungry so I thought I would stop at a place I quite enjoy, well two places in fact. A donair place for some real sustenance and booster juice for a delicious smoothy dessert. As I walked to go get my donair, I noticed this gentleman, that looked a little rough around the edges, picking up garbage in the large parking lot and mused to myself that he was likely homeless. But didn't think much of it and continued into the store. After I got my food I went back to my truck and proceeded to eat my food fairly quickly as I had somewhere to be and things to do. As I ate though I watched him continue to make his way around the large parking lot and picking stuff up and put it in the garbage. As I was finishing my lunch I felt God impress me to go and talk to him but I brushed it off and reasoned that I needed to get rolling so I wasn't late in getting where I needed to go. But as is often the case, when God tries to talk to us, He doesn't give up easily. And I was reminded the being busy isn't a good reason to brush off God's prodding, not that there is ever a good reason but especially not that!
A sermon I had heard recently also came immediately to mind of how it is far more blessed to give than to receive and that sometimes giving our time is far more important than just giving our money or other things. I went over to him and said hello, how are you doing, He was a touch startled as he didn't see me walk up, but quickly answered that he was doing well and enjoying the beautiful day. I introduced myself and he did as well(sadly I've forgotten his name) and He went on to tell how he often panhandles in this paring lot and does quite well on some days and feels a necessity to give back and that's why he likes to pick up garbage in the parking lot. It was a good reminder to see that despite hardship and struggles, we still have the capacity to look beyond ourselves and see what is going on in the world around us, to see the needs of others and help where we can, even if its just little things like picking up some garbage. It helped show me that God is trying to work in all of our lives, and sometimes we may not even see
We talked a bit more and I asked him if he would allow me to buy him something eat, he responded that he appreciated the offer and asked if I would maybe get him a gift card from McDonald's? I said sure and told him I'd be right back. While waiting in line to buy the gift card I had the dilemma.....How much do I put on the gift card??? I first thought as I looked at the menu, "$5 would get him enough to do the trick" And immediately regretting even thinking that. God has blessed me with the means to feed myself and how often do I spend far more than that in one sitting. A food-related bible verse snip-it then came to mind, "I was hungry and you didn't feed me...when you refused to help the least of these, you were refusing to help me." While perhaps not entirely fitting as I was about to help feed someone seemingly less fortunate, that seemed to me like a pretty good rebuttal to me cheapskate initial thought of $5. So I figured enough to buy at least a few meals was a much more appropriate thing to do.
Leaving McD's I headed back over to him gave him the gift card, he thanked me and I told him to take care and God bless to which he responded with a smile "you too". As I hopped in my truck and started to drive away, the feeling of being able to help someone in need,even something that seems so trivial to us such as buying someone a meal, gives us a glimpse of the joy its brings to God when we let Him help us with things in our lives. It truly is, far greater to give then it is to receive!
Read more uplifting stories on our homelessness awareness page here.