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Do you see?

January 13, 2022

From Pastor Joe


One of the more socially awkward, uncomfortable occurrences is to be sitting in a car at a traffic light and someone will be standing there, holding up a sign asking for money or financial help. I generally assume this is “a homeless person”, who is down on their luck through circumstances. Usually, their sign says something like, “will work for food” or “homeless vet, please give what you can.”


And I know how some people view this practice-they don’t give money out to people standing on the side of the road. Too much opportunity for cheating, lying or abuse etc. I understand that way of thinking.


One of the techniques these folks use is to wait until the cars are stopped at the light and then they walk up and down the length of the line of cars to sort of hand solicit. They hold up their sign to each and every car, hoping the occupant of the cars see the sign and respond with giving. This is the hard part for people who are predetermined not to give. In order to not appear callous or like they don’t care, the person in the car must not look at the person holding up a sign and asking for money. They must avoid eye contact so as not to respond to them. But the odd thing is-obviously they do see them. They have to see them so that they can act like they don’t see them. It is like being on an elevator with someone and acting like you do not know they are there. How odd is that?


There is something about looking at a person and making eye contact that affirms their humanity and connects you to them-at least for a brief moment. In fact, if we do not look at someone, see them as human, we will never be able to touch them and to help. That is perhaps why so many people just write a check. It is a lot cleaner to just give money. It is necessary and useful, yes, but not the same as going. Perhaps we need to put our hands where our money is instead of “money where our mouth is”. Perhaps writing a check is too easy.


We need to be able to look people in the eye and tell them “God loves them.” Not just with words, but with actions and benefits. When I think about all of my friends who are involved in health care or first responders - they do not have the option of looking away and doing nothing. They chose to look. They chose to help. They choose to give.


I think of Jesus leaving Heaven and taking on flesh and coming to earth. He did not look away. He did not turn aside. He chose to “give what He could”, which was His life and His blood.

To truly give, to help, means we look, we see, we act, we serve.

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