Recently, while traveling with a friend here in Tampa, I had to stop at a traffic light. While waiting for the light to change, I noticed a poorly dressed fellow standing on the traffic lane island and holding a sign asking for help because he didn’t have a job or money. Off to my right and almost out of my sight, a frail-looking woman was sitting quietly on a box with a boy about 5 and a little girl a bit older than the boy. The little boy was a bit restless while the girl sat quietly next to the woman, holding her hand. The three had sad looks, and it appeared they didn’t wish to be seen.
I thought about my grandchildren, who are about their ages and were certainly more blessed than these unfortunate children. I reached for my wallet while silently thanking God for my family and his many blessings. I beckoned the man to my car and gave him several dollars. I wish I could have given more. He had a great smile, clear blue eyes and said, “Thank you, sir, and God bless you and your family.”
The light changed, and as I drove away my friend looked at me and asked, “Why did you give him so much money? He’ll just spend it on drugs or booze.”
My memory was jolted to a time during the late 1940s when I was sitting in our kitchen after school talking to my grandmother as she was ironing. There was a knock at our back door. My grandmother opened the door. A middle-aged man stepped back while holding his hat in front of him. He smiled and quietly asked, “Ma’am, could you give me a glass of water and something to eat?”
“Of course,” my grandmother said, “come on in.” The man took another step back and said, “No, ma’am, I’ll just wait out here.” She made the man a meat and cheese sandwich and placed it and an apple in a small paper bag. As she gave the man the bag, she reached into her apron pocket and gave the man a couple of dollars, too, because he would need to eat later that day.
“God bless you, ma’am!” he said.
After the man left, I said to my grandmother, “Why did you give him that much money? He’ll only spend it on beer!” She smiled and said, “Well, it isn’t my business what he does with the money. It is my business to give and not to judge.”
God loves a cheerful giver. I hope that during this season, that we all give, no matter the circumstances, to others when possible, and you, too, will be blessed.