What were you teaching me, Lord, when you brought me into an encounter with a woman in need?
She had hoped to be offered a ten, perhaps, if I were generous, a twenty and I would be on my way, so she could be on her way.
She wasn’t prepared to be offered to shop together! How dare I intrude upon her own personal choices with the money she would receive. The handout. The unearned gift.
But she gazed into my eyes, a brief moment of hesitancy, before she said, “Yes! Thank you.”
I didn’t think I had any expectations. I had no idea what she would choose to buy, or how much. I was totally open to whatever she put in the basket. The family sized lasagna, the day old French bread, the six pack of Root Beer, and the dozen and a half eggs.
Willingly I paid. Returned the bags to the cart and hugged her. We each said we would pray for one another. Her pastor and she would pray for me, she said. I told her God bless you and walked away. No strings. No expectations for a return……..or was there?
Why did my stomach churn when I saw her moments later walk over to the Starbucks and order a tall cold drink? Why did I watch her from a distance as she studied the many packages of fresh coffee on the shelves? Was I stunned that she would have enough pocket change to purchase a drink normally above her means? Did I feel I had been taken advantage of? Conned? Did she really have a twenty in her purse to spend on dinner for her grandkids?
Father, I pray, examine my heart. My own motives. I guess I had some strings hanging on to my debit card. She was supposed to walk out to a bus or a beaten up old car, get in and feed her grandchildren with what I had purchased for her and be grateful!
Forgive me, Lord, for holding on to preconceived notions that the poor were penniless. That when someone asked me for a handout they were supposed to be grateful! Forgive me, Lord, for being ungrateful to you! You, who gave completely all that you had for my life whether I thanked you or not!
There were no strings on that cross! No preconceived expectations! You gave freely. Oh, Father, may I grasp what You did for me and why. You gave. Out of love. For me. You ask only that I love you and revere You as my Lord and then to love my neighbor as you love me. No strings. No expectations. No worries. Freely I give. Lesson learned. For today. God bless Yolanda and her grandchildren.
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. And do not pass judgment and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you shall not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For whatever measure you deal out to others, it will be dealt to you in return.” Luke 6:36-38