What would you have done?

I am so enjoying purging the house of clutter….maybe it’s true that clearing the physical mess in a persons life, can lead to having a less cluttered mind too? I certainly feel better for it and knowing others are benefitting from the things i no longer want or need, feels pretty good too.

A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth ~ Luke 12 v 15

‘Things’ have never impressed me.

Money has never impressed me, perhaps because i have never had very much of it, but how far do we have to look to see the needy? I don’t think we need to look as far as Africa or India or even outside our own towns and cities.

Last night we went to the supermarket pretty late just before the store closed, we were only buying bread and milk and a few other bits and pieces. As we walked from one aisle to another, a man, hunched over, carrying a grimey carrier bag and himself looking rather dirty and unkempt, was walking towards me with a limp. The cap he wore was pulled down so that no one could see his face.

He walked pretty sorrowfully, if that is even a way of walking, you get my meaning though i am sure…anyway, we filled our basket and went to the checkout to pay. We paid and as we were about to leave to store, i saw the man sitting on a bench inside the store, still holding his dirty carrier bag, no evidence that he had purchased anything at all.

I slowed down and started to turn as if to go to him, but something stopped me, i thought, ‘what if i am wrong?’ What if he isn’t homeless, how can i walk up to him and offer him money or offer to buy him some food, i might offend him!’

In the end i was so unsure about what to do that i did nothing at all and went and got in my car to drive home.

But that guy has been on my mind ever since.

It’s a difficult thing to know what to do.

What would you have done?

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11 Responses to What would you have done?

  1. alexa says:

    I would have followed my impulses in that regard. I figure when I feel like that, it’s a good thing – and undoubtedly prompted by the holy spirit. if the man is offended, it is not your fault. it would only be because he doesn’t know your heart. regardless, he would appreciate the money for its own sake.

    • ukok says:

      I too have come to understand that this is usually at the prompting of the Holy Spirit that I become concerned for a stranger. I agree with you completely that if i had offended the man with any communication i made with him, that it would be because he didn;t know and understand my motives. I know now what i should have done, i guess having the kids with me and their prompting me not to stop and chat with the man (they thought i might offend the man too) encouraged me to walk on by. Now i am sad that i did.

  2. Tim J. says:

    I don’t know. I have passed up opportunities to help people who obviously could have used it, and have always ended up regretting it. It’s as if I don’t think of the right thing to do until 5 seconds after it’s too late. I suppose Alexa is right… better to take action and take the risk of appearing foolish.

    • ukok says:

      Tim, I know just what you mean. It’s so often with the benefit of hindsight that i see what i have failed to do or what i should have done differently. I have had that man on my mind on and off all day long, i think that this is because i should have stopped and talked with him. I could kick myself now. The time it takes me to think what to do means that its too late for me to do it…or at least it feels that way.

      I’m not suggesting that God Himself appeared to me in the appearance of a homeless person, but that man was surely God-made and has His very imprint on that man’s soul…i suppose a part of me was embarrassed at not wanting to cause offence, and frankly i just couldn;’ think what to say. I hope next time the opportunity presents itself for me to reach out, that I am more responsive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit .

      If the situation were reversed, and i walked in that man’s shoes, would i want someone to stop their busy lives for just one moment and show me that they gave a damn?

      I certainly would


  3. Sarah says:

    Always risk it. Move with the spirit. You cannot help how they respond. Smile anyway. Love anyway.

    • ukok says:

      Thanks Sarah, i think you’re absolutely right. Maybe it is even a little prideful because maybe in my subconscious I was afraid to talk to him? I don’t think i was but maybe part of the reason i didn’t stop and talk to him was because I thought of my not wanting to go out of my comfort zone, than the good that my being compassionate, could do?

      Hmm, I think I need to think some more on this…

  4. alexa says:

    I wouldn’t kick yourself for it, Deb. We’ve all done it/not done it before! I certainly have!

  5. Gabrielle says:

    I have heard the Holy Spirit in this regard and not followed through too many times to count. I was just talking about this the other day with a friend, and am taking very seriously this timely prompting from your own experience, ukok. Thank you.

  6. ukok says:

    Gabrielle, if my ignoring the Holy Spirit helps you not to, then i am so glad that something good came out of it!

  7. Melanie says:

    Thanks to my husband’s example, we always stop and help strangers that we see. Sometimes it’s with money, or bottled water, or the purchase of a meal. All given with a kind word and a genuine smile. My kids are sometimes embarrassed, but it doesn’t matter. My husband has never turned away from someone in need and never second-guesses his actions. It’s one of the things that made me fall in love with him — he’s been burned and hurt and jerked around by others, but it never stops him from assuming the best no matter what. I’ve learned much from him and have done my best to care for others.

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