This morning it is raining outside. I’m still thinking about how to respond to people on the streets who are homeless and/or beg for money. I’d like to believe that everyone out there found a dry place to stay overnight. Last night I kept thinking about what I could do. I feel like there’s not much I can do … the situation of poverty and homelessness is a huge social problem. Yet, when I’m walking and run into someone asking for spare change, I am face to face with a fellow human being, not some abstract “social problem.” The very cliche phrase “What would Jesus do?” haunts me.
I started formulating a possible plan — I don’t know if this is realistic nor do I know if it would really be helpful to others or if it is more to assuage my own feelings of helplessness. What if I got together little packages of stuff … some food, some change, etc. … and when I ran into someone, I’d be prepared. I’d say hello and see if the person wanted anything. Such encounters are always highly unpredictable (see Jen‘s comment on my last post “Can You Spare Some Change?“). But, I don’t think unpredictability should stop people from responding (with great care and common sense) to the needs of others. As I write about my “plan” it sounds kind of goofy, but I think, what the heck? Maybe at the least it will open a door for me to get more in touch with the needs of God’s people and find a way to do something in my little corner of the world. We live in hope.