03 August 2010

What Do We Do With That?

I sat down with a friend recently for lunch. He is a good man. He has three smallish children and a beautiful wife. He loves God with all of his heart and has an almost foreboding passion that simmers just under the surface of who he is, a reckless desire to live out his beliefs for the glory of God.

He told me of an encounter he had with a beggar, a woman who was obviously on hard times but was also a little too good at the panhandling game. Her "skill" at the pity-pitch was just enough to allow my friend to wonder about what exactly she would buy with his loose change...and therefore just enough that he chose not to give her any.

He seemed conflicted. Sad. His young son was with him and he lamented the loss of a moment to teach, an opportunity to show his boy in practice what the grace of God might really look like. And yet he was still wrestling with what wisdom looks like when there is a high chance that we, the compassionate, are just feeding someone's addiction or prolonging their stay on the streets.

What to do?

1. Rally the family for a 5 minute lesson on homelessness. Explain to kids that some people don't have homes, etc...

2. Take family on mission to grocery store to buy "homeless relief kit" supplies. Brown paper bags, non-perishable food, gum/candy, bottles of water, socks, underwear...

3. Head home and lay stuff out. Then begin packing the bags with supplies.

4. Put a few bags in each car and deputize the kiddos to be on the lookout for folks who might need a helping hand.

5. When approaching a stoplight with a panhandler, simply roll down that window and change someone's day with a little bit of hope and the love of Jesus (in the form of clean undies and a bag of Doritos)...

6. Enjoy watching kids find joy in helping the least of these.



  1. i took my ephew with me one day and he said Aunt Phi Im starving... as he said this we drove by a pan handler it was december and i asked him how he thought tht guy felt.. " really think about it" i told him ... at which point my compasionate nephew got misty eyed. so we went to the grocery store and got him about 2 days worth of non parishables, and 1 hot meal, and a pack f cigereetts. why the cigs? asked my nephew.. what if he dosnt smoke? and shoulldnt we be discoraging him from smoking if he does? Then i explaind to him that they could be used as currancy if he didnt and if he did then they would at least help him feel warm, we also got him some socks powerade and 1 soda . I normally no never would have gven the guy ciggs, but i wanted to get the point accross that to someone who is truely in need what has to be done to get basic needs met.... it really changed my nepheews view of others

  2. Kyle- This is Shaun. Enjoy reading your blog. I think this is a good start. The lesson will continue when the person experiecing homelessness (notice the person first approach) decides that they don't want the bag. The key is to teach the realities of why the person might turn down the food, yet still love the person as a unique creature of God.

  3. Thanks Shaun...good knowing God has you where He does. Thankful for calling and passion being aligned to vocation.