Two weeks ago I encountered a family sitting on the curb near a chain store in a northern suburb. The mother sat in the grass tending to her infant baby in a stroller as the father stood next to them holding a cardboard sign that read: Need Money for Gas. As I parked my vehicle I stopped to watch the family and the passing cars. I hoped as each car approached that it would stop. After sitting for a while and noticing that most drivers passed by without even making eye contact, I let my mind wander. Where was this family going? Why were they in this situation? Their appearance was clean, were they really in need? Was their baby hungry? Surely, the money could be better spent than on fuel, right?
I collected my thoughts and went into the chain store to pick up whatever item I needed, that no longer seemed important. I had decided to help the family the moment I seen them, but as often happens with humans, I tend to allow fear and skepticism to get in the way of my heart. On this day, as I withdrew money from the ATM, I let go of my doubt. Verses of alms giving, loving thy neighbor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and loving like Christ loves, filled my heart. We as a society have become accustomed to questioning everything, everyone, and often with reason. The news reports stories of sadness and scandal so often that it is easy to forget the goodness in this world. I am guilty of skepticism, cynicism, and judgment. I wish I could say that I give more often without question, but I cannot.
On this day, as I pulled up to the family on the curb to give my modest help, I was reminded of my job as a human. The family did not speak English as their first language but I was able to gather the blessings they wished me as I departed. I share this story not to display my generosity, but to share a lesson I learned along way. The heart and mind are our own form of checks and balances, but we all need a reminder once in a while, that our purpose is bigger.
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. - Romans 14:13