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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Good and Bad (05/07/09)

TITLE: Disregarded
By Connie Dixon
05/12/09


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As I drove past the Wal-Mart parking lot, I saw a man holding a sign. I’m positive I’d never seen him before but he looked strangely familiar. My eyes connected with his, then drifted down to his bill-board:

Need Work – Need Food

The letters were meticulously scripted, artistically placed on the inside of an old cereal box and written with a purple crayon.

My car kept moving but my mind was stuck on the plight of this stranger. I was torn between the different philosophies of two beloved people - my normally kind and caring husband who never gives money to beggars, and my girlfriend who cannot pass by the homeless without handing them at least a couple of dollars. I felt bad as I drove past.

Someone did a study a few years back and found out that a good number of people who stand on street corners with signs such as: will work for food, are really not in need at all. In fact, they are doing quite well due to the generosity of people like my friend. But there are the others who truly need help. They are the down- and-outers with no money, no food, no gas and no place to turn.

In Luke, we learn about a man who had been robbed, beaten, thrown into a ditch and left for dead. The priest passed him by, the Levite passed him by…but the Samaritan stopped and helped him – at great cost to himself. Jesus commended the foreigner and advised the Pharisees to be like him.

In Mathew 19, Jesus told the rich man to sell all of his possessions and give them to the poor, and then he could follow Him. But the rich man loved his money more than he loved Jesus.

Do I have the right not to help? The good thing to do, the right thing to do is to go back and encourage that man. If this guy is a con-artist, God will deal with him. But according to His Word, my job is to help him out, not to judge him or his circumstances.

The Proverbs are filled with godly wisdom about helping the poor, the deserving and the unfortunate. Proverbs 19:17 says: If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD—and he will repay you! Proverbs 25:21 says: If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.

Then…why do I ignore them?

Again the Proverbs give wise counsel about such things as hard work, common sense, laziness, wickedness, foolishness and immorality.

Proverbs 25:26 says: If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.

People in need are easy to overlook because they are easy to condemn. Who crowned me Queen? Who elected you Judge?

We are all familiar with the passage in Mathew 25 where Jesus commends the righteous with these famous words: 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (vs. 40)

I don’t usually give much thought to these people who are looking for help – but this Wal-Mart guy got my attention. Because I am a believer I should see people in a different light – I should see them through God’s eyes and not my own. After some consideration, I decided to go back and talk to the man to find out what he really needed. Maybe I could help him after all.

I turned around and headed back with joyful anticipation. I focused ahead to the spot where the man had been standing, but he was gone. I drove down each row inspecting every vehicle. There in row D I saw him – with an elderly couple from my church. They had a grocery cart piled high with diapers, laundry soap and lots of food. They were loading it into and old, worn out pick-up. The man’s wife and two toddlers observed wide-eyed from inside.

Then I remembered this verse: 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Matthew 25:45-46

*All verses from the New Living Translation


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This article has been read 449 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dennis Ricci05/14/09
"If this guy is a con-artist, God will deal with him." You ministered to me with that statement. God bless you,
Margaret Gass05/14/09
I have been on both sides...I have given many times, like your friend, because I cannot pass by. In some cases, I have returned with a hot meal because I could not do more.

I have also been the one to need help. I have never posted a sign, or begged on a street...but I have had someone fill my car with food, pay my light bill, or spoil me with a needed haircut when my income wasn't enough to handle one more emergency.

For me, it was harder to receive such generosity than it was to give when I had little. Trust your heart and His prompting. Yes, you drove by--but you drove back...and in the process, sought Him. Those who read this will have the same opportunity. Thank you!
Joy Bach 05/14/09
Heaps of convictions. It is such a struggle to just pass by. I've never thought of it exactly as you put it. Thanks so much for the reminder of how we, as Christians, are supposed to live.
Glynis Becker 05/15/09
I've struggled with this just like so many others have. You've done a great job of laying out both sides of this very convicting and controversial issue. Thanks for making me think about it in a new light.
Mona Purvis05/16/09
Glad to see someone take on this subject. You wrote it in such a perfect voice...a questioning voice, considering, debating. It was not preachy, no anger, no self-righteousness. So the writing is spot on.
Now on the subject, here's my .02 worth. I always give something, as the Lord leads. I always pray for the person. It's not my job to judge the person, they are God's creation.
My husband does differently.
But, my belief is that God blesses us when we give freely, He knows our heart. It's never about the recipient's condition.
Thank you for the piece.
Mona
Catrina Bradley 05/17/09
Awesome. I've had this same conversation, and not just in my head. People may call me a sucker, but I'd rather err on the side of compassion. The flow from thought to thought could be just a bit smoother, but over all a GREAT entry!
Betty Castleberry05/18/09
This is of particular interest to me, because my daughter's philosophy is to give to these people, and she believes as you said, "God will deal with them."

I'm a little stonier when it comes to giving handouts, but this made me think.

Well done.
Bryan Ridenour05/18/09
Well written and thought provoking. Thanks for dealing with this topic in a time and an economy where many more may be holding up signs.
Carol Slider 05/18/09
A very good, thoughtful take on a difficult dilemma we often face. Thanks for sharing your insights!
Seema Bagai 05/18/09
A well-written piece. As a devotional, I thought it was a bit lengthy, though. You have made many people (including me) think about this issue.
Gerald Shuler 05/19/09
Your entry touches on a very real problem for Christians. I was homeless at one point for nearly a year and learned a lot about that lifestyle. Yes, for some it is a very lucrative lifestyle. They go home (in another state) after a few months of pandering to spend the rest of the year swimming in their pool and working on their antique auto collection.

But the ones who really are hurting are the ones we don't want to overlook. You can't help them if you don't see them... and most Christians, unfortunately, don't even look.
Pamela Kliewer05/19/09
Thank you for writing this. It is well done and made me think.

I have more of a tendency to want to give to them, but I don't because we (my husband and I) don't want to just give money and most of the time we've thought they were con artists. The other day, however, I drove by a man who was standing on the corner coming out of Wal-mart and the Lord spoke very clearly to me to give him some food I had just purchased. The light stayed red long enough for me to do so. It was a good feeling to be able to give to him.

Thank you again, for your take on this topic.
Colin Swann05/19/09
Well written and challenging. Scripturally sound with lessons we should all heed. I really like these sort of stories/articles - Thank you very much for a most meaningful piece.

Colin
Diana Dart 05/20/09
Oh Connie - spot on. Extremely well crafted with good flow. Just enough lesson, challenge and call to action - a message that NEEDS to be said. I especially like the end. Thank you, thank you for writing this.
Patricia Herchenroether05/20/09
This was very convicting and well-written. The subject is one close to my heart. Thank you, Connie.
Blessings,
Patty
Sharon Laughter 05/22/09
I enjoyed this as well. You are speaking for those who can't speak for themselves! I love the title and can personally relate. Only I know, the disregarded are not always on the street behind a sign. Those often have a "family" and tight community. But the disregarded can be behind you in the pew on Sunday - a person devastated by a spouse's adultery and then divorce, exasperated by destitution, homelessness, loss of friends (who remained loyal to the wandering spouse), the pain of only being able to provide the simplest necessities for their child. A simple invite to Sunday dinner or lunch at MacDonalds could mean the world!!