I was in my 20's, walking from the bus stop when I noticed a nurse trudging slowly towards me. She stopped and asked if I had some money to give her for bus fare. She seemed to be in her 30-40's. Though I wasn't sure of her age, I knew she was considerably older than me.
She looked so incredibly dejected and depressed. I recognized it because I've been incredibly depressed at times. Being as young as I was though, I was very disconcerted by her request. I couldn't imagine someone in a nurse's uniform asking me for a handout. It felt too bizarre for me to even consider stopping to talk with her, and to try to help. I shook my head and mouthed "no," and hurried on in my discomfort.
It wasn't that I would not have wanted to help her, because I've needed help often in my life. The truth is that I probably didn't have a nickle to give her, but I was not thinking about that. It startled me so much for an older, professional person to humble herself enough to ask a younger person like me, on the street and in jeans and a t-shirt, for monetary help.
I never forgot that incident. It comes back to me regularly. Why? Because it reminds me of the saying, Maybe we are entertaining angels unaware. I wish so much that it could have happened now, when I'm much more experienced and mature, and cannot be surprised by the needs of different types of "others." Was she an angel? I don't know. I do know that at that time, I was not capable of responding differently.
Since then I have helped a lot of people. I have been an instrument through which God has blessed others in different ways. I have also been blessed by the obedience and generosity of others. Everyday I welcome opportunities to help others.
Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
(2 Corinthians 9:7 World English Bible)
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly , or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
(2 Corinthians 9:7 King James Version)
Not only does God love a cheerful giver, but we feel good when we give what we want to and feel that we can give. Peace comes in this way, rather than when we feel forced or coerced. If more, or even less, needs to be done, we can trust God to let us know. He will also give us the resources to honor his wishes.
Image Credit: James Blunt Photography