Do you lock your doors?

The other day I was on my way to Toys R Us to try to get a certain toy that was on sale for one day only.  On my way off the exit, there was a man on the side of the road holding a sign “Please Help” or something like that.  The temperature was somewhere in the 40s and a cold drizzly rain was falling.  In moments like these I sometimes feel that God is watching me to see how I will respond.  I wonder if you are like me in these situations and have about a dozen thoughts race through your head…

Quick visual assessment: Does he look dangerous?  Am I going to have to stop my car right next to him?  Maybe I should lock my door.  Is he just scamming?  Do I have a dollar on me?  I only have a $20.  But that’s gas money.  I can’t give him a $20 – that’s a lot.  I don’t carry extra cash.  What if he just buys cigarettes with it.  Light’s green.  Too late to figure it out now.  Poor guy.  I shouild have helped him.  Or should I have?…

The irony set in as I walked into Toys R Us.  I had passed this man by so I could save 15 dollars on one of a dozen toys my kids will get.  Once I found out they were out of stock I left.  I then drove around the corner to a store to buy the homeless guy an umbrella.  At the checkout, the worker said “You didn’t plan on it raining today, did you?”  I wasn’t sure how to respond.  I left and headed back to the off-ramp.  I had already worked out in my head where I would park and what I would say.  When I arrived He was gone.

I was bummed and felt, in a way, that I had not passed the test.  I decided I could keep the umbrella in my car in case I run across someone else who could use it – and I’ll make sure I stop and help right away next time.

This seems to be a topic that arises on occasion in our Christian circles.  Jesus seems to be clear how we should respond.  But why do we rationalize our way out of helping?

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