A week or so ago at the grocery store, a scraggly man asked me for a dollar as I got into my car.
I had a few dollars in my pocket but I ignored him and drove off. Then on the way home I began to feel seriously convicted, and it just wouldn't go away. I kept thinking about the parable of the Good Samaritan and the question, "Who is my neighbor?"
Even though I lead a ministry that helps the homeless, I had decided there were some poor people I wasn't going to help. I was keeping hustlers and panhandlers at arm's length.
I guess it started several years ago. Scruffy people with "Will Work for Food" signs were at every intersection. I drove around Dallas and met with 24 of these sign folks, mostly men, some in wheelchairs, some with a child or a cute dog. Instead of giving them money, I offered each one a place to stay, food and a (low paying) job with no strings attached.
In every case they told me that they were not interested. I found out from one of them that they all worked for one individual who provided them with room, board and transportation. Each one was pulling in several hundred dollars a week, many times more than we make at Trinity Foundation.
Now I realized I was using my little test with the "sign men" to excuse my not giving money to the grocery store beggar......