(Please understand. I am not sharing these things to toot my own horn. I am generally quite private about any service I try to give. But the world is full of such an angry clamor right now, I’d like to brighten it, and show others that we can each make a small difference. If each person shone a little light, imagine how bright the world could become!)
I wasn’t going to post tonight. But something happened today and if I don’t write, I might forget it, and this is something I hope I can remember forever.
Today was #lighttheworld – Day 3, Jesus Healed the Blind, and So Can You. I looked at the theme for today’s service this morning and didn’t know what I would do. There were some recommendations given on the advent calendar, but none of them felt right to me. I was a little worried that I couldn’t come up with something of my own, so I prayed and asked for help to think of something. Nothing came to mind right away, so I started looking to see what folks on Facebook might be doing for Day 3.
That’s how I happened upon this video:
And then the words came to my mind, “How about you let me help you see?” And the answer to a concern I’ve struggled with for years came.
My concern was all the people I see begging on street corners in my community. I get frustrated because I know some of these people do this as a “career,” and I don’t like the idea of them taking things that others may truly need. The other problem I’ve had is that I know some of them have addictions and their begging supplies the means to maintain their addiction. That’s a concern, of course, but mine goes even deeper, because I know that some of those people with addictions use the money to go home and get high, while their children suffer with no food, no warm clothes, and no attention from loving parents. Some of these children get beaten, yelled at, and locked away, and I could not in good conscience give money to support that. So I have driven on past when I have seen these people on the corners. I have read their signs and cynically looked away.
My heart is not cold to the beggars, though. I have also donated money to my local food bank and community support center for the homeless. This was my best answer to know that what I gave would go to those in real need and not get used to support addictions or neglect and abuse of children. Still, I see the people with the signs, and I’ve wondered how often I was overlooking someone in real need, but I haven’t been able to come up with a solution to my dilemma.
Until today. “Will you let me help you see? Can I heal your blindness?”
Yes, please. Help me, was my response.
It was clear at once. In my mind, I saw all the things I could put into a zip-top bag to give away –
- A juice or water bottle
- A package of beef jerky
- A few candies
- An energy bar
- A pair of wool socks
- Some hand warmers
It’s not a lot. But if I had a daughter or son out panhandling, I’d be praying for them, that somehow they could feel God’s love, and somehow find a way to get out of the situation they were in. I can’t personally help these people out of their situations, but maybe someone will feel a little of God’s love for them when they receive one of my bags. Today I am grateful that Heavenly Father helped me to see a way to help without harming.
Next week is supposed to get really cold. I hope everyone can find a warm place to be.
(Read and Follow the Directions)
A wise king once taught his people about the importance of seeing and helping the beggars:
Book of Mormon, Mosiah 4: 16-22
16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish. 17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. 19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind? 20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another. 22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.