Was That You, Lord?

Sunday, December 17, 2017
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O Little Town Of Bethlehem"1 (Lyrics)

Matthew 25:42,45 – For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me no drink. Then shall he answer them saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. (KJV)

Homelessness and people on the streets asking for money, food, and/or work are not new, but they are increasing in most communities, and perhaps nowhere more than on the Lower Mainland or on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, probably because of our warmer climate.

Some pull at our heartstrings, while others repel us, and the question as to whether or not to give them money is always debatable. We are told repeatedly by those who are closest to dealing with them not to give them money because invariably it goes to drugs, yet we wrestle within ourselves if we pass them by.

It's not my practice to give to everyone. I have my favourites, some whom I know, or at least believe, use the money for food, towards their rent, or some other expense. There are those to whom I will not give money, but for whom I will gladly buy something to eat, usually a hamburger or sandwich, or sometimes, something seemingly as simple as a pair of gloves. There are those with whom I am not familiar, but give, and there are those to whom I say "Sorry" and pass by.

On three recent occasions, however, I've been given pause to wonder if I'm being tested.

The bank with which I deal has a post box outside, to the left of the door as I enter from the right. Each time on these occasions, a week or more apart, I've noticed a pair of legs sticking out from the other side of the post box, signifying that a person is sitting there, likely hoping for some change. Were I to be entering from the left, I'd encounter him full on, and we would see each other face to face. Entering on the right, avoiding eye contact is easy, as it would be to not drop off some change.

And therein lies the opportunity to give or not. I wouldn't be seen by the person, wouldn't be making eye contact, and could convince myself that it's okay just to go on my way. Admittedly, upon entering the bank, I have thought about doing just that. But once in there, I remind myself what a blessing it is to have access to a bank account and some money, and not to be sitting on a cold sidewalk hoping to receive something.

On each of the three times prior to leaving the bank, I've kept out some change to give to the gentleman — and he is gone — nowhere in sight.

And so, I have wondered, "Was that You, Lord?"

Winter is here, and the weather is cold, damp, raining, or snowing. Christmas will soon be here. People will be positioning themselves in hopes of a handout at more and more places along the walkways. As we approach, if we're wrestling whether to give or not, let's ask ourselves, "Is that You, Lord?"

Prayer: As we pursue our path of purchases and preparations to celebrate Your birthday, Lord, no matter what our position in life, may we think of those who have less than do we, and may we accept less for ourselves, that we may give more to others. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Mary Daniel <marydee@shaw.ca>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good one Mary!

    Well said, Mary. Have a Merry Christmas.

    You have given us much to think about.
    Thank you.

    Dear Mary,
    I enjoyed your devotional “Was That You, Lord? ”

    Your devotional today gives “food for thought”. Thanks for sharing Mary.

    You nailed it. Now to make sure all Christians read it.

    I liked this very much, Mary. I find myself asking that same question on a daily basis. “Is that you, God.”
    Thanks for reminding us to look to God in all of our activities.

    And that is exactly the thing isn’t it. Is the Holy Spirit directing us to see the people around us, many of them with far greater needs than pocket change. Do they know Him? Not surprisingly, some do, intimately. Some, their souls are so messed up or empty, no amount of money can fix that. Guided by the Holy Spirit. It’s how we need to live in this world, and ready to hear, and see, and respond. Pocket change often opens a door to sharing so much more! Thank you for your devotional. It has stimulated my brain and stirred my soul. Blessings!

    Mary – you have indeed given me much food for thought. I, too, see people on the street and am not always sure how to help? We have a pantry in our church for people to access who need help plus we donate to food bank and a place that does hot meals five days a week. Also a group at church makes sandwiches weekly for mental health group. Our bulletin weekly tells us what is needed for each group. I know we are blessed to be able to donate and/or volunteer.
    It really is an issue we all struggle with but I thank you for reminding me again about what would Jesus do?

    Dear Mary
    I loved reading your devotional because I have gone through the exact thing. We were stopped at a red light and there was a woman with a sign that read, “Out of work. I have a family to feed.” Because I was the driver, I couldn’t get to my wallet, so I asked my husband to give me some cash to give her. He gave me a toonie. I asked him if he had anything more, and reluctantly gave me a five dollar bill. I would have given her more, but was unable. And then of course, after we left he went on and on about her using the money on drugs or alcohol. I just simply told him that I didn’t know, but I did what I wanted to do. We may be in similar situations one day. And give fact that …. perhaps it was our Lord? May we all be bolder and less afraid of what others will say or do when we do what Jesus would have us do. Great devotional at this time of “giving”.
    Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas and a healthy and peaceful 2018.

    Good day, Mary!
    What a wonderful devotional you wrote! A great reminder that we are our brother’s keeper… and how sadly easy it can be to adopt an out of sight out of mind attitude.
    God knows our hearts better than we ourselves. HE knew your heart was in the right place about the person outside of the bank when you kept some change out to give this man … only to find he was gone. When this happens where we’ve delayed acting we do wonder if we were being tested.
    Perhaps another time, God will help you to see the man beside the box so you can help him. Or perhaps this was just a check-in reminder that people sometimes need help to see how you’d handle it. What was maybe needed was your compassion to be willing to help even though you didn’t have the opportunity to follow-through.
    Keep on listening to God’s direction as you are doing! Keep writing and submitting devotionals.
    Merry Christmas!

    What a lovely generous devotional!
    A blessing for your journey.

    Thank you, Mary, for your touching and insightful devotional. Homelessness is a complex issue, one that has to tear at our hearts when we are confronted with the reality. It exists everywhere, and may just be more evident in the major cities, but on the outskirts in small towns, although not quite as obvious, it lurks in abandoned buildings, under bridges, and in the forests.
    So your question, “Is that you, Lord?” is an appropriate one for us to ask. It first causes us to pause and acknowledge the possibility; then it must surely cause us to address what our response will be.
    In our town, through our outreach, we have become friends and neighbours to some of our homeless population. We have been amazed and humbled by their warm nature and the amazing gifts they often possess, and as part of our extended family, we have grieved their loss when they pass away.
    We are learning to see Christ in them, and pray that they will see Christ in us.
    God’s good gifts and blessings are always meant to be shared. Thank you again, Mary, for reminding us of that.
    Blessings to you and yours at this very special Christmas season.

    Thank you, Mary, for your devotional.
    I pray, “Dear Lord, please help me to know where and how much to give.”
    Here in our southern Manitoba we see extremely little of people begging money..
    But there are always the mission organizations and persons working for existence salaries and stipends.
    Again, “Dear Lord, where, to whom and how much?” Our Lord wants us to be generous.


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