August 7, 2020

I am called a “Christian”

white picket fence 2

One day a vision came my way
About a Christian found today
A Christian who’s supposed to be caring
A Christian who’s supposed to be sharing
But instead a man who would knock his brother down
Is what I found
And he is called a Christian

And in accord with his belief
He gives his money for relief
To help the needy and to help mankind
Or is it just to satisfy his mind
He’s so generous with his property and wealth
But not himself
And he is called a Christian

And I was saddened to behold
This vision of a heart so cold
And as it started to dim quickly
I cried out “Help me Lord that I might see!”
What he showed me made me want to turn and flee
For it was me…
And I am called a “Christian”

– C. Doucette

Pardon the language, but I suck when it comes to helping the poor. My church does too. Then again, I am even worse when it comes to being involved in the lives of the poor. I/We give financially to charities working with the poor, but that seems to be about it. The song was written by a friend of mine, and we used to sing it at churches around town in the early eighties. As I look at my life now, it pretty much sums it up.

Perhaps it is related to the fact that I am typing this on my laptop, sitting on a comfortable house, in my comfortable home, in my comfortable suburb. Or in the words of the parody by Scott Wesley Brown which I also used to sing: “I’ll serve you here in suburbia, in my comfortable middle class life.” How is it that I have become that which I ridiculed when I was younger?

It wasn’t always that way. In my university years I befriended poor families, helped their kids with homework, and took them to events. This wasn’t something that was forced, it was part of who I was.

Now I am wrapped up in work, kids activities, and church. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of time for much else. I am not alone in this, and I think suburbia does take some of the blame. Just a couple of weeks ago my next door neighbor met the neighbor who lives diagonally across from me for the first time. They have both lived in their respective houses for over twenty years! We get so busy that we don’t even get to meet our neighbors let alone the poor who don’t frequent our suburbs.

I am disheartened by this, and I know I have set a bad example for my kids. I see how they are becoming increasingly materialistic. I don’t like it, but I know that it is my fault. I am not sure how to get out of this rut that I am in. Like Sir Isaacs Newton’s first law: “An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an external force acts upon it.”

I don’t want to be completely negative with this post. There is a group that has sprung up in my part of the world that I wish was around when I was younger and when my future was still very fluid. MoveIn seeks to be salt and light in the neediest neighborhoods in the city. In the four years since its inception over 200 have joined them to become missionaries to their inner city neighborhoods. What this group is doing is an inspiration to me and may be what gets me moving again. I am called a “Christian”. I pray that the vision in the song might be replaced by one that is like the vision of MoveIn.

The MoveIn Vision

John 1:14 says, “The Word [Jesus] became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Or, as The Message paraphrases it, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”

MoveIn is about copying Jesus’ example (Phil. 2:5-7) by literally moving in to the neighbourhood.

We have discovered that something amazing happens when a group of Christians intentionally moves into a neighbourhood to pray (Acts 1:14) and be. In doing so, they have chosen to become part of the neighbourhood. Rather than visiting or serving and then going away, they will share in their neighbourhood’s joys (Rom. 12:15), and in its troubles (Rom. 8:17); and they will have an opportunity to be right in there as salt (Matt. 5:13) and light (Matt 5:14) – as the hands and feet of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27; Matt. 25:35-40) – with a cup of cold water in one hand (Mark 9:41) and the good news (Isa. 52:7) in the other.

We are encouraging all young Christians to ask themselves to move where they move on purpose and to challenge their default motivations. Sadly, it seems to have become the norm for Christians to move into a neighbourhood not because of the need or because of a calling to reach it, but because it is convenient. Furthermore, neighbourhoods that are inconvenient or unsafe are avoided.

It is time for Christians to move into neighbourhoods because they are not safe – to move into neighbourhoods that are messy and have high crime rates, high poverty rates, low standards of living, and a disproportionate representation of Christ.

“It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.” Paul, Romans 15:20

It is also time for those who move into suburbs and other lower-needs neighbourhoods to do so on purpose – prayerfully, seriously, communally.

As we ‘move in’, we pray also that we would be part of the fulfillment of the prayer for more people to go where the “labourers are few” but the “harvest is plentiful” (Matt. 9:37) on the other side of the world – where people have never heard of Jesus, and where–in some cases–they live in slums and sleep in refuse that is physical, economic, social, emotional, environmental, or spiritual in nature.

We are moving in because Christ did it first (Eph. 5:1). We are praying for big things because we serve a big God (Psalm 8). We are confident that He will go before us (Isa. 45:2), that he will never leave us (Heb. 13:5-6), and that he will be with us right to the end (Matt 28:20). Through prayer and action, we pray that those we live among will experience Christ’s love themselves in a life-changing, life-giving, totally contagious kind of way (John 10:10) – for God’s glory.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9

By the way, if you liked the song, it is sung to the tune of “Sounds of Silence”.

Comments

  1. “Pardon the language, but I suck when it comes to helping the poor. My church does too. Then again, I am even worse when it comes to being involved in the lives of the poor.”

    Join the club, Mike.

    “The entire life of the Christian is one of repentance.”

    (Thesis #1 of the 95)

  2. Adam Tauno Williams says

    >>Now I am wrapped up in work, kids activities, and church

    ‘wrapped up in church’ – I know how that works. Those are some dismal memories. And looking back I still do not really understand – how can an organization that actually does not *DO ANYTHING*, take so very much time to manage.

    ‘kids’ – Perhaps the concept of the nuclear family, Dr. Dobson’s dream, is actually part of the problem. Two, or just one, parent, with kids. I was raised by my parents, grand parents, a great grand-mother, an uncle, and a stray hippie. So they all just had more time [aside: they also did not panic when I was out of sight for a reasonable amount of time]. So parenting, at least once infancy was passed through, was not such an all-consuming thing. This is IMNSHO, an example of cultural-fail. And a very difficult one to address; perhaps that is something the church could do?

    Exhausted people can’t help anyone, they might not even have friends, of their own privilege, or of less. I’ve watched numerous of my peers get married, have children… and disappear.

    > We get so busy that we don’t even get to meet our neighbors

    That is a design goal of suburbs. At least the older ones; some of the more recent ones include common areas, central parks, or little commercially/retail zoned areas. Design matters.

    > let alone the poor who don’t frequent our suburbs

    ??? Nobody frequents the suburbs, only the people who live there. 🙂

    >that I wish was around when I was younger and when my future was still very fluid.

    Are you sure your future is really as un-fluid as this statement implies you think it is?

    “We are encouraging all young Christians to ask themselves to move where they move on purpose and to challenge their default motivations”

    Why does this only apply to the young? We should all be so deliberate. I’ve made some small steps in deliberateness, hard at first, gets easier, and actually turns out to be enjoyable, and you meet the coolest [and happiest!] people. Maybe a crazy guy chucks cans at you once in awhile, meh.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “We are encouraging all young Christians to ask themselves to move where they move on purpose and to challenge their default motivations”

      Problem is, in an Age of Extremes like ours, “Challenging their default motivations” can all too easily degenerate into Acquire the Fire Mania and Can You Top This — “Unless You Sell All That You Have Move to a Third World Slum and Live in a Cardboard Box Until You Die of Starvation, Christ Will Spew Thee Out of His Mouth, LUKEWARM APOSTATE!!!!!”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        P.S.

        Or in the words of the parody by Scott Wesley Brown which I also used to sing: “I’ll serve you here in suburbia, in my comfortable middle class life.”

        The title of that song is “Please DON’T Send Me to Africa.” I heard it way too often during the Seventies and early Eighties.

        Again, remember the Acquire the Fire Mania types, where “You’re Not REALLY a Christian UNLESS you’re a Missionary into Darkest Africa.”

  3. A friend of mine recently asked on FB, “Does anyone actually know someone who’s tried to get health care coverage throught the new Obamacare web site?” Though he and I are on opposite sides of this purely American debate, I was as unable to answer “Yes” as he apparently was.

    Our shared inability to answer in the affirmative says more about the circles that we inhabit than it does about those whose need the law is intended to address (successfully or otherwise).

    Be ye warmed and filled, whoever you are.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      That’s “Be Warm And Well Fed; I’ll Pray For You(TM)” as they walk quickly away on the other side of the street.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “Does anyone actually know someone who’s tried to get health care coverage throught the new Obamacare web site?” Though he and I are on opposite sides of this purely American debate, I was as unable to answer “Yes” as he apparently was.

      Sounds like that story told about the 2000 and 2004 elections, where the Beautiful People at their Exclusive Manhatten Parties were aghast that Chimpy Dubya Bushitler made it to the White House. “HOW COULD HE? NOBODY I KNOW VOTED FOR HIM!”

  4. Great: something else to feel guilty about — “Do I do enough for the poor?”

    There’s a short answer to that question: “No” — but, contra the message from liberal and conservative groups who want to manipulate your guilt to support their efforts to change the world, we aren’t actually called to solve the problems of poverty or to end hunger: that’s not up to us, any more than it’s up to us to save ourselves or anyone else.

    I think we are called to help where we can: for some with the talent and means that might be in leading and building a large charitable organization that seeks out and helps many people; for most of us, it is in helping in small and mostly unseen ways those we encounter who are in need from physical or spiritual poverty. The Good Samaritan was simply a man going about his business, who stopped to help a person in need, made arrangements for his care — and then continued on his own business.

    Too often today we think our charities should be a sort of equivalent of our mega churches: big and loud and flashy with outsize goals and charismatic leadership, getting support and manpower and money by any means necessary: guilt, peer pressure, pride chief among them.

    I trust far more the people and churches that go about their works of mercy quietly, cheerfully and with no fanfare.

    • It’s everywhere.

      Law.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        You’re being cryptic.
        “Law” as in “You’re Law, I’m Grace”?
        Or as in “This is the Law”?
        Or something else?

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Nope. It is “law” only from the intellectual tar-pit that is the “law vs. grace dichotomy”. That approach has not done anything for the world but allow two people to stand on the beech and argue if they are *required* to save the third person who is drowning; no, no, it must not be a requirement but done out of “love”. The person in the water is now dead. The people on the beech have not noticed yet. The discussion is getting heated, they have to really focus, this is an important question!

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > Great: something else to feel guilty about — “Do I do enough for the poor?”

      No, this is not about guilt. It is about self-examination and reflection. Doing better. Being better. Finding more meaning and more community. Caring about one’s neighbor. It is about rising to the occasion and meeting the mission. This is not guilt. Self-examination != guilt, it is just healthy.

      > for most of us, it is in helping in small and mostly unseen ways

      Agree, completely. The danger is sliding into a position and routine that insulates oneself from other’s needs. Then it just doesn’t happen.

      • I agree. I have spent a lifetime around manipulative, religious guilt and I recognize it when I see it. I have been having similar thoughts recently to the ones that Mike has so ably expressed in this post. As I have pondered the life of Jesus, it is evident that He loved the poor, and he that He used His great power to help them throughout His ministry.

        No, this is not guilt. It is being tired of living in the darkness and death of pursuing the American dream, or any other philosophy of this world. It is hungering after light and life, expressed fully in the life of Jesus.

        May He illumine our hearts and minds, and show us the way.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          I agree. I have spent a lifetime around manipulative, religious guilt and I recognize it when I see it.

          Add a kid genius upbringing where the MINIMUM expected of you was and is Utter Perfection. No matter how much you do, it is NEVER enough. No matter how perfectly you do it, it is NEVER good enough. Ever. Guilt manipulation all the way.

          Even now at my job, no matter how much I do, it is NEVER enough. “Why couldn’t you have done THIS and THIS and THIS as well?” Do More, Do More, Do More, Increase Productivity, Increase Productivity! Is It Done Yet? Is It Done Yet? Is It Done Yet? Guilt and fear manipulation all the way.

          “Well Done, My Good and Faithful Servant?” Don’t make me laugh! More like Jack Chick’s “This Was Your Life”, rubbing your nose in every mistake you ever made, every Why Couldn’t You Have Done More? Huh? Huh? Huh?

        • Chill said: “As I have pondered the life of Jesus, it is evident that He loved the poor, and he that He used His great power to help them throughout His ministry.”

          A thought just struck me. Yes, he loved the poor and tells us to love the poor, but how did he do that? And how exactly did he help them? I don’t recall stories of him handing coins to beggars, nor sandwiches to the hungry. He didn’t even establish a help-the-poor program for his followers to use.

          From Luke 4, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor…”

          From Luke 7: “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight…and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”

          These two have less to do with physically helping the poor and more to do with spiritually helping them.

          Luke 11: “But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.”

          Now there seems to be a more “physical” or material aspect to Jesus’ statement here. “Be generous.” One thought that occurs to me is that we often think we need to hit homeruns for God. “I gotta do more, more, more.” But I think that’s when we spiral into guilt. “I’m not doing enough. Jesus must be disappointed. Am I truly a Christian?” In reality (my opinion), I think all God and Jesus ask of us is to hit singles, even if they’re ugly looking infield choppers. Helping the thirsty, the hungry, the naked and the poor may be nothing more than giving someone a cup of water, a piece of bread, and a coat.

          • I agree with the emphasis on preaching the Gospel to the poor, but the question is what happens next? It’s not just that a bunch of poor people got saved, and then things went on exactly as before. It appears that in the New Testament the Gospel provoked a vision of a new kind of community- one in which people were aware of needs and gave in order to meet them (Acts 2) and one in which the poor were among everyone else in the worship of God (James 1:25-2:7).

            And perhaps we’re drawing too sharp a distinction between poor, as in low socio-economic status, and the people who are simply run down, defeated, hurt, and in bondage to various evils. For instance, the rest of the scroll of Isaiah deals with the blind, the oppressed, and those in bondage. There’s a lot of crossover among the classes mentioned there, as there is in the beatitudes.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            But I think that’s when we spiral into guilt. “I’m not doing enough. Jesus must be disappointed. Am I truly a Christian?”

            I have spiraled into guilt so much it’s what’s been NORMAL for most of my life. And through all this I’ve envied Sociopaths. To someone mired in guilt, do you know what it’s like to see someone completely incapable of EVER feeling guilty, no matter what? It would be PARADISE. To never ever ever feel guilty again.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > A thought just struck me. Yes, he loved the poor and tells us to love the poor, but how
            > did he do that? And how exactly did he help them? I don’t recall stories of him handing
            > coins to beggars, nor sandwiches to the hungry

            He did feed them. And while Jesus did not necessarily do that much to materially help the poor – the mandate as interpreted by the Apostle’s is abundantly clear. Just a few of these are cited in the post.

            The defense for hiding from the world’s problem behind a pulpit requires precise snipping of scripture; in both the old and new testaments.

    • David Cornwell says

      “we think our charities should be a sort of equivalent of our mega churches: big and loud and flashy with outsize goals and charismatic leadership, getting support and manpower and money by any means necessary: guilt, peer pressure, pride chief among them.”

      Sorry, I totally disagree with this part of your assessment. I also disagree that everything our churches are doing is based on guilt. I suppose that might be part of the case, because we in the west are kinda obsessed with guilt, and part of that might be because we have so much to be guilty about.

      The charities I know about are just the opposite of what you describe. Most started with very humble beginnings, with people seriously concerned about the needs that are all around us. There is nothing wrong with being organized (part of the Methodist left in me). Some very clearly started with bible study and prayer, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. None of them are flashy or seeking undue headlines. The leaders have absolutely no comparison to the pastors of mega churches. Most work for salaries that are below market average, and work long hours. They are dedicated to the youth they serve, the sick they attempt to make well, the homeless families that otherwise would be sleeping outdoors, on park benches, or somewhere else. They attempt to alleviate suffering and find a way to return people to a better life. The leaders are just the opposite of flashy. I’ve seen few of them wring their hands in guilt. They serve joyfully for the most part.

      Now I’ll admit that if a mega church would start a similar enterprise, you’d probably find all the mega hype that goes with it.

      What I’ve observed is that people complain about shiftless youth, homeless people on the streets, and people who receive food stamps, yet they are unwilling to do anything but complain about anyone who attempts to make a difference. They complain about government, saying it should be left to charity and churches. And still they complain when the churches do anything.

      • I did qualify that by saying “too often” — I wouldn’t want to suggest that all charitable enterprises, even big ones, are misguided.

        But I see guilt at play here when we feel bad about living in our safe, comfortable suburbs as opposed to some dangerous urban neighborhood. I’m not sure that the current residents of the areas the MoveIn people want to inhabit will view their presence as a blessing or as much more than a sort of Christian gentrification of their neighborhoods.

        • David Cornwell says

          You have a point. Our entire downtown area is being changed. Part of the change is a move toward more downtown sports (minor league muti-use ballpark) and a move by education, the arts, and business to invest heavily in downtown once again. Some residential gentrification is also happening. What that does to our mission to the needy around us, I’m not sure.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > What that does to our mission to the needy around us

            Let’s look at it differently. Not what it “does” to our mission. But what opportunities it affords. The situation is not necessarily adversarial or zero-sum.

            In a ‘downtown’ the classes are concentration, one group is no longer geographically isolated from another. And the lower classes in such an area have access to resources: food, health-care, and employment, which are not available to them either in urban ghettos or rural resource wastelands. All those restaurants, bars, hotels, etc… require wage workers. All those wage workers require transportation and housing. Developers are eager to provide housing. The city needs funds to provide transportation. Churches have the underprivileged and disenfranchised just down the block, vs. over the hill into the nearest city [well, even rural churches have them around, if they can find them].

            This is a major problem if and only if, the churches continue to hide behind their pulpits wringing their hands and holding up their noses with disdain at the prospect of politics. At which point they will just be irrelevant, continue to die, and IMNSHO, good riddance to rubbish.

            Get involved in the process; you’ll meet some devils, but you’ll also meet some wonderful people. And you might be surprised at local politics, where everyone needs everyone else to ‘win’ at some of what is possible. This coming from a capital-S Socialist who thinks the Value Capture concept over traditional property tax idea explained by former head of one of the nations largest real-estate development company sounds like a equitable win-win proposition. And the building developers who volunteer to have half the apartments they build be rent-controlled [the downtown needs those workers, and it only really works if they can reside near where they work]. And the big hospitals with all their shift staff, enclosed on all sides by other development, need that rapid transit route; as do the super-marks who employ hundreds of shift workers as well. And now those wage workers live blocks from all manner of services almost unreachable form the ghetto or the suburbs. But it requires people to be involved, at all levels.

          • Oh Adam, you hit on one of the dirty little secrets of our world. The wealthy can afford to buy a home 5 minutes from work while the guy serving his coffee has to drive 20 plus miles to find an apartment he can afford. Yeah, there are inner-city slums. There are also rural and suburban slums. One company in the my industry purchased an apartment building for their ‘shift staff’ to rent at an affordable rate, everything else in the area was high-end condo’s and once you got out of town it is all vacation homes for the condo people or others from around the country. I often hear and see the wealthy exec who commutes and hour from his country home, but we often don’t realize is the car next to him is a ‘neighbor’ commuting an hour for lower middle class shift work because that is the closest place in which he could afford a home.
            I’m currently out on short term disability for a back injury. It really is amazing just how expensive having a job can be. I spend close to 10 percent of my income just to commute.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            bobson:
            > Oh Adam, you hit on one of the dirty little secrets of our world.

            It is hardly a secret. It is plain to see if one bothers to look at the data [look at the data rather than wasting time arguing fictional non-sense about big-government/small-government blah blah woof woof]. The city where I live is even bringing in big-name high-quality presenters and presenting the data in free public meetings to try to create an informed electorate.

            There is a real major huge *opportunity* in the ‘new urbanization’ for people who care about an equitable society, structural inequities, and general quality-of-life. If more people can be distracted from the stupid squabbling and be brought into the conversation more of those opportunities will be seized. Every time the currents of society shift about that creates both problems and opportunities. What can be done to get people to look at the opportunities? [rather than wringing their hands about change or the problems – which simply does not help]

    • There’s always the element of not letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing.

      It doens’t appear to me that this MoveIn mission is trying to make people feel bad about living in the suburbs. It appears to be fingering a social problem that ought to be seen and accounted for. You don’t have to personally feel bad about not doing every task and ministry that the Body of Christ contains, but it ought to raise flags about the wider culture, and consciousness of the Gospel, when the social condition of the church reflects the exact same social condition of the rest of the world. This isn’t guilt, it’s a red flag. And an effort to correct it. I don’t see anythign wrong with that.

  5. Mike:

    I think it is called middle age.

    Talk to anyone in the same stage of life, even if they do not have Christian faith and you discover it is a time when life is a grind. You wake up, go to work to pay your bills, feed your kids, pay your tax and hopefully save some for retirement. Your house owns you. Fix this, fix that, the transmission just went in the car($3000), or a fuel pump ($600). You go to sleep at night tired from all that. And you wake up next morning to jump on the hamster wheel again.

    It comes with living in the industrialized world. Most of your available energy just goes to just staying afloat.
    You can embrace it and try to live for Christ where you are, or try something radically different.

    I have a few friends who have tried to be radically counter-cultural pry open time in their lives to ‘do ministry’. This has often meant selling the home and being involved for a time, and then when money runs out, it is back to the grind usually at worse jobs.

    All one can do is be obedient in small things and be prayerful about what you do.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Talk to anyone in the same stage of life, even if they do not have Christian faith and you discover it is a time when life is a grind. You wake up, go to work to pay your bills, feed your kids, pay your tax and hopefully save some for retirement. Your house owns you. Fix this, fix that, the transmission just went in the car($3000), or a fuel pump ($600). You go to sleep at night tired from all that. And you wake up next morning to jump on the hamster wheel again.

      And then you hear preaching (usually from some young On Fire type) about SELL EVERYTHING AND TRUST IN THE LOORD, Acquire the Fire, DO SOMETHING, HOW DARE YOU BE SO SELFISH, THUS SAITH THE LOORD: BECAUSE THOU ART LUKEWARM I SHALL SPEW THEE OUT OF MY MOUTH!!!!!! On Fire, On Fire, On Fire, Wretched Urgency 24/7/365.

      • Or better yet, Humblebrag: “Even though I donate generously to charity, I still feel that I should be doing even more for the Lord.”

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          With your liveried Armorbearers blowing long trumpets before you to announce how HUMBLE(TM) you are.

  6. Mike, none of us seem to be very good at living among the poor, as you said. Part of it is that we’re working against a lifetime of social conditioning. Not to mention the society we’re a part of, already being segregated largely according to socio-economic status, isn’t exactly glowing with opportunities to get to know poor people.

    The best vision is not one, I don’t believe, of ADDING new thins to all the things we’re already doing,- work, kids, church…and now ALSO doing social justice projects. But it’s one in which the corporate life of the local church, its work, its worship, it’s children, its creation, its social life….these things begin to intersect with people that are not like us. No extra effort needs to be added (necessarily). A start might be allotting energies in such a way that at least there was an awareness that, say, homeless people exist, that we might cross their path, and that we would actually be prepared to welcome them. It’s not easy, or cute, or simple. It’s an entirely new “language” to be learned. And it may not happen very often at first, but I think the more awareness we’re given, the more we become drawn to do church life in such a way that we begin to see the poor, and they begin to see the church (those that aren’t already part of a church.)

    I have very little insight from experience, but I’ve been part of a couple churches in my life that operated this way. It was the furthest thing from “do more stuff, cause we’re responsible for pleasing God” as can often be the case. It’s just life as it is, only with a wider variety of people present. This is possible anywhere, even in the relatively homogenous suburbs.

  7. One quick story that I find endless pleasure in.

    Like many, I have a suspicion and reluctance when people ask me for money. I usually don’t give it. (I’m not claiming a good rationale for it, I’m just suspicious and tired of being panhandled). Anyway, the church I used to attend was located in a neighborhood where there was a lot of poverty and crack addiction. There was a large, glass storefront giving an unobstructed view inside. It was a weekday afternoon and there were a few of us hanging out inside, and someone approached the door, as people frequently did, and peered inside. He looked dissheveled, weather-beaten, poor. He was probably homeless. The usual expectation of being asked for money entered my mind as I answered the door to speak with the gentleman. Instead, he dug into his pockets and pulled out two dollar-bills, and said “Hi, a few people from this church have helped me out in the past, and, well…I just wanted to give something back.” He handed me the two dollars and left me speechless at the front door.

    Priceless.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      A modern Widow’s Mite.

    • Great story.

      A family we helped several times through our food pantry came in just before Christmas last year and handed us several bags of groceries. “This is for helping us when we needed it.”

      Priceless, too.