A couple of hours ago, today was much like any other Monday. In other words, I was distracted and wishing for a nap.
And I was hungry. After all, it was nearly noon.
And then some people showed up & asked for money. It happens. It’s part of this job. It’s part of this ministry. And a challenge often comes up, because what people ask for isn’t always the best way to help them.
If someone wants gas money so they can look for a job, isn’t the better thing to connect them with a service that can help them find a job? If someone wants money for a hotel room, isn’t it better to help them find a temporary shelter that includes someone who can help with budgeting and other skills so they have tools to make sure they don’t face this again?
Of course, everyone is different. Every case is different. Everyone has their own circumstances. And sometimes people really do need a tank of gas or a hotel room for a night.
So, some people showed up and they wanted help. And I listened to their story, I asked them to wait while I checked into some things (and checked with a colleague). And I offered them gas in their car and a meal.
And something changed. After I filled their tank and pointed them to a nearby restaurant where I would meet them to pay for their lunch, we agreed that we’d share the meal together.
It’s one thing to give somebody a hand, to throw a few bucks their way, to do a little bit to help. And it’s another thing to sit down and share a meal with people. It’s another thing to share your time and your energy and your stories.
So we sat, we talked, we shared our stories. I hope that they’re able to get where they’re going. I hope that they feel uplifted and blessed by the time we spent together.
Because I do. Out of all of that, there’s a part of me that thinks I got as much out of it as they did. And so I know that it was right.