Years ago in Sunday School, I was told the story of the beggar on the side of the road and remember thinking how unkind the people ignoring this human being were. He obviously needed help and yet most people walked right by. Fast forward a few thousand years and the dirt roads are now paved but men and women are still on the sidelines asking for help. Most people ignore them because they are afraid, think the person should be working, or that the money will be used to buy drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes.
It takes a lot of courage to stand on the side of the road with a homemade sign asking for help. Many of these people are hungry, thirsty, and more than likely, broke. It could be any of us. We don’t know the details – mental illness, substance abuse, addiction, unemployment, desertion – but we know whatever the reason, a person swallowed their pride and is asking for help. Sure, he or she could go to a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen but that’s not the point. It’s about helping a human being in need, even if the money won’t be used the way you think it should. The money may not go towards food or shelter, but there’s also a chance it will.
Consider buying a box of energy or granola bars this week (Costco sells cases of the appropriately named KIND bars) and wrapping a few dollars around each bar with a rubber band and handing them out to a person in need – whether on the sidewalk or on the street at that busy intersection. Whether you get a “thank you,” a smile, or just a nod, you will get back a thousand times more than what you gave.