Tuesday, January 27, 2009

To Give or not to Give a big deal

Earlier on today, several people included a senior pastor, a youth pastor a ship captain, a businessman and myself had a meeting in one of the shopping mall of the city. As we were seated near a coffeeshop, talking and figuring out the details of this massive christian campaign in Rio Hato that we intend to have in two weeks from know, a timid young guy suddently interrupted our conversation and approached our table. Almost like whispering he began mumbling asking for something I barely understood at his first attempt. Quickly and without being obvious I studied the facial expression of my friends and noticed that they were annoyed by the sudden interruption. Once we all learnt what this young guy was up to, our attitude changed from being annoyed to confusion more like not knowing how to react or what to do. The young man timidly explained that he was robbed while riding a bus in the city and his wallet was taken away, leaving him without documents and pocket money to pay for his bus ticket to the country side where he lives. He explained that he was trying to collect the ten bucks needed to pay for his bus ticket.
Often, when we are alone and someone comes to beg for money we are quick to judge them by their physical appearance or clothing and sometimes we politely and some other times, contemptuously we refuse them away. We readily find hundreds if not thousands of excuses and reasons to calm down our conscious when we refuse with giving money to the needy. I learnt from Dad and a neighbor to give since early in life, but there is always the doubt of how often, when not to, and so and so. Just last sunday during Bible school at church, there was this huge discussion among the peers how wise was to give to the needy people. Some had the position that the streets were to dangerous to be lowering the car's window to give money, some others defended that most of the homeless people begging for money on the streets were drug addicts, or alcoholics some others stated that there were the lazy people who would send children to the streets to beg for money for them and the list is endless. The other side, including the teacher, explained that the Bible commanded us to give with a cheerful heart without judging, for only God can see the intentions of a man's heart. A girl in particular, stated that right before stepping out of her house, she would trust her life in God's hand and that she would not be walking in the city with a fearful heart, but rather with a joyful spirit which proved to come in handy even while helping people she would not know.
One of my friends reached for his wallet and handed him out a dollar bill and soon after myself and one of the pastors followed his action. He said thanks to us and right before leaving, the other pastor also gave him one dollar but not without warning him that he better be telling the truth, for we were all people of God and that tricking people of God would only bring ruin to his life. At this point, I thought it was going to end this sudden interruption so that we could continue with our business, when the same pastor rapidly changed his approach to the young guy and asked him if He had Jesus in his heart to which the young man timidly answered that he was a catholic already. In just a matter of seconds, the pastor shot a burst of biblical truth and witnessed him. He just seized the momentun and the Holy Spirit came upon that table with all of us sitting in there. The youth pastor asked him if he wanted to accept Jesus in his heart right there right then, and he accepted. What a moment, what a moment. He repeated the prayer of faith and then we prayed for him. I can not describe the feeling and the solemn atmosphere in that place on that table near the coffeeshop. It was the Holy Spirit himself that had just manifested through the youth pastor. What an example he set right there in front of the rest of us, the way he understands that every opportunity no matter where no matter when is the right opportunity to do what we as christians, followers of Christ are meant to.
Now I come to think about it, the reason of our meeting was to discuss and plan the details for the upcoming evangelistic activity and we were so busy doing so that we almost lost the perspective and the opportunity to witness right there and right then to someone that God sent purposedly to our table to test the intention of our hearts.
What a lesson ! ! !
Giving a message of hope to someone who is requesting bread to calm his hunger, without meeting his need is not enough, for God not only fed the multitude spiritually, but took the pain of feeding a whole bunch of people. Giving a piece of bread to a hungry man just to make our conscious feel in peace, without witnessing him and clearly conveying Jesus's love for him is not enough, for God always took care of the spiritual need before the physical need, for a healthy and wealthy man without God is just as sick and needy as a homeless.