August 5, 2010


About 30 minutes ago, I was eating lunch in town. While I was eating, a kid approached the glass door near my table and stood there, just watching me. I wasn't staring at him, but I could feel his eyes. When I glanced over, he mimed his desire for food. I was in a crappy mood, so all I did was shrug my shoulders and continued with my meal. It sounds so cold, but there's something about handouts that make me cringe. That also sounds cold, doesn't it...

Let me put it this way; when I give a stranger food/money when they ask for it, I find it to be an empty gesture. Just give and take. The end. I also feel like I'm elevating myself above that person when I bestow charity. And that's not me being puffed up. That's a natural, human, emotional reaction within me.

I much prefer to do my good deeds in the shadows where I can't help but escape any and all credit for my actions. For example, you see someone on the street and, without any provocation on their part, you make your move. You go into a restaurant, give a waiter some money and tell them, "feed that person" as you walk out the door. Then, before anyone has realized what just happened, you're long gone. Things like that have lasting effects beyond just one person, and I think it's deeds like these that truly expose God's providence to others. It's harder for people to put a face on the action, which is a good thing. That being said, it's also much harder to spot these opportunities, and twice as difficult to act on it when they show up. You need God's Eyes to see people in need without them telling you, and you need His Heart to chase down the opportunity. Unprovoked actions like these not only require a spirit of charity, but a cheerful heart as well. Obviously, I had neither of these half an hour ago, otherwise that kid would be enjoying some beans and rice with a nice mango juice right now.

I absolutely don't want to take credit for buying someone lunch, especially when the money I used wasn't even mine to begin with.