Those People With the Signs at the Intersections

You know the ones. They're usually poorly dressed, with a backpack at their feet. The sign says "Will work for food", or "Homeless. Please Help". Maybe you see them on your way to work? Or while running errands? You pretend not to notice them. You avoid their glance. Yeah, those people.

Have you found yourself annoyed by them? How dare they stand there everyday and beg you for money. They're probably liars, scam artists, just out to make a quick buck. Or they're addicts and will just waste your money on drugs and alcohol. Whatever it is, you know there is no good reason why they don't have a job. They're obviously lazy. Let's see, what other assumptions can we use to make ourselves feel better about ignoring them.

My goodness, if you were to give some of your spare change to everyone that asked you, why that would add up to... uh, let's see here... 50 cents per day times the guy at 5th and main plus the kid downtown... carry the one... Well, TOO much, THAT'S for sure. And besides, you tithe to your church and give money every year to the homeless shelter. You're doing you're part, right?

So why can't you look them in the eyes? Why do you have to pretend to be on the phone? Why can't you roll down your window and say hello?

"Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." Deuteronomy 15:10-11

Ken Bussell
Minister of Music & Administration
Our Place Christian Church

>sent via blackberry


wasmachstdugern said...

i dont know what the previous reply was about but i know mine will be about how astute an observation this really is. i cant look them in the eye because i know that even if i do give them my change my conscience demands i do more if i am going to act correctly. i cant just hand them change i wont ever need, i need to help them where they are. do they need a home? a pair of shoes? a shower? thats why i cant look at them. i know they need more than i am willing to offer.
shawn cardwell did that with a mute homeless guy named tom. he has been living with shawn for about two years now with no plans of ever leaving. i think he did the right thing. go to his blog and find out who he is.

Ken said...

Thanks Terry. I finally figured out how to delete comments!

That link you sent was incredible! I'm linking to it. The post on trying to get an ID just made my stomach knot up!!

wasmachstdugern said...

i was at the dmv the other day futilely struggling to get my car registered (long story) when i saw two people trying to get id cards. one was a guy who didnt have a birth certificate, although it was obvious he was born here. the other guy was a temporary worker who just walked up to the counter and got one without hassle. it was so frustrating to see the guy who had most right to a card get denied while the other strolled through. i can only imagine what tom must have felt for those 6 or 7 years when he couldnt cash govt checks due to his inability to speak and his inability to put an address on all the forms they forced him to fill out.