Sunday, October 15, 2006

Inconsitstencies

Last night I was talking with a friend about how I am so blessed to have a good job, and the means to have a comfortable life. I realize that that is not the norm for most people, and I am guilty of taking it for granted, for sure, but when I take time to reflect, I am so so so grateful for it.

Today at church the sermon was about justice and mercy, and what it means to "do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God." A big part of that had to do with taking care of the poor. Something that really stuck out was the need to connect with all people, not just those in the same socio-economic status (or 'higher') as we are. I think it's pretty natural to make friends with people who are at our level (or 'above,' for lack of a better word), but really, how often do we - ok, I'll make it personal, do I - make it a point to connect with people who have considerably less than I do? And why is that?

It's not something that happens conciously, for sure, but what attitude is in me that I don't even realize? I mean, I know there are people out there who look down on people who are in a lower socio-economic class than them. There are all kinds of attitudes out there that prevent people from helping - or even just befriending - those who are in a 'lover' class than they are. And, I think, anyway, I don't have that kind of blatant attitude. But still, a lack of action based on some neutral attitude still has the same result: just that - a lack of action.

I was thinking today at church about how I can make a change in that area - to really get serious about the Bible's clear call to take care of the poor, the opressed, the orphaned, the widowed. I don't really know where to start. Our church has a number of programs that it runs that I could help out with, but I simply don't have the time this year with all the adjustments relating to my job. The thought occurred to me that some people have time to give, and others have money. As an invited guest was telling a little of his story during the service today - he lives on welfare and after rent and phone is paid for, he has $410 to live on each month. That's IT. - last night's conversation came screaming into my head. How is it that I have so much when others have so little? I don't have time to give, but I could certainly do without a few little things each month and make some shifts in the way I spend some of my income. I need to find a channel through which to do that, but it's an idea that began to take root this morning.

Cut to tonight. I was downtown for my dance lesson and had just parked in a little back alley lot behind the studio. I was trying to figure out how to pay at the stupid meter (trust me, it's stupid!) when a man came up to me and told me that I could actually park just around the corner for free. I was skeptical, but my friend went and checked it out and sure enough... so I moved my car. As we were walking away, the man asked if I would give him a few bucks, cause he got me free parking. Ah ha. Duh, why did I not see that coming? I muttered to him something about not having change, which was a total lie - I had a coupe of twonies in my pocket - and then muttered something to my friend about not giving money, I'd be happy to buy him food, but we were in a rush, blah blah blah. That IS usually my policy, but I mean, come on. After that whole thought process this morning, I couldn't even give the guy two bucks? After I had just NOT paid $5 for parking? What gives? I guess it just showed me that I really have a long way to go.

4 comments:

anne said...

Such a hard place to be in. There have been many times we have been asked on the street or whatever and not given anything.

And there once was a time we had a neighbor come over and ask for a ride to go pick up milk. Ok, we could do that. And then another time she asked to borrow money for milk. Ok, but only so long as we drive you. And then she asks to get dropped off at some house. And what do we do? Drop her off. Turns out we were had. She was actually buying drugs and she was actually a hooker just across the street.

Ugh. Does that make me choose never to give anyone a ride or money again? No, but I am more careful and I pray it out in the moment. That's the trick. Not to avoid just because you're creeped out... :) I've sure done that enough.

Hmm, long comment. All that to say, I hear your inner turmoil. I see the pain in people's eyes and understand the true need, but when it comes right down to it, it's so physically difficult to do.

Queen Bee said...

Easy to say no, isn't it? I did just last night to a fellow outside Safeway. I *almost* ran after him with some money, but I'd already said I didn't have any...ugh.

Barbara said...

It is a tough place to be in when someone just comes right out and asks for money. I think the best thing to do is give money directly to soup kitchens and women's shelters. It is a tough truth but most of the time they are going to buy drugs or alcohol. I have been burned many, mnay times over this and make it a policy to not give money when asked. However, if I see someone that looks like she could use a little money I will give something.

Sarah D said...

Hmmm, now you have us thinking!
I definetly struggle with this issue too. I get the fear of the money being used for drugs/alcohol etc, but what about us? Maybe I am the only "sinner" but I certainly have spent money on things that may not be best for me -- junkfood, trashy magazine, not so good movie etc. Who am i to judge how other's use money? okay enough!

Interesting, this Sunday we had a great sermon about the issue of money--- particularly the passage in Luke 12:13-21. I found the part when God calls the rich man a fool, to be particularly challenging. The passage (read it also!) can be summarized that a rich man has lots, infact so much he has no place to store all his grain, so he builds bigger barns, but in the end it is his time to die and essentially he stored up grain and will never get to use it. Made me think about all my stuff and how much I "store" up and always want a bigger house/car etc.

Oiyyyyy I this is not any easy thing to work through... I agree with the earlier post to pray in each situation..


Good Luck!