It was a Wednesday night several weeks ago. The night before payday. Most people know the pinch. As we got in the car to leave church, I asked Brandon if he had any cash in his wallet. As I was rummaging through the ashtray for change, I mentioned that it would be a good thing to pick up a loaf of Bread and some fruit on the way home. (Sure we had some other food at the house, but I felt like having bread and fruit would get the girls and I through the next day before we went to the store on Thursday night. There are only so many things our kids will eat!) We quickly strode through Wal-mart and picked up our few items. After paying for them, we had some money leftover, which Libby made note of. As Libby and I were walking hand in hand back to our car, she looked to me and said something that I hope will stay with me forever. In her precious six year-old way, she said, "We should give some of our money to the poor people. After all, we are rich...aren't we, Mommy?" My first thought was to snicker and tell her that we are the poor people...didn't you notice us digging for change in the car?!? However, I know the truth. I know we are blessed much more than we can comprehend. I know that we have all that we need. I know that we are His. I know. So, after my emotions gathered and words could be uttered, I said, "Absolutely! We are rich!"
It was a Wednesday night two weeks ago. As we walked toward our car after church, a somewhat disheveled man stopped us on the sidewalk to ask if our church was the place he could get a meal. Brandon and I began loading the girls in the car while we told him about the times that our church does serve free meals to those who need it. He said he was really hungry and wondered if we were sure there wasn't a place he could get a bowl of grits, anything. Brandon told him about the Waterfront Rescue Mission several blocks away. It was dark already, and he would have to walk several blocks to find food anywhere...even if he had money. (He never asked for money, and we have decided to not give out money.) So, I spoke up and explained to him that if he would remain there, we would drive to pick him up some dinner and bring it right back. McDonald's seemed our closest option. Libby and I went in to pick up some food for him. I chose cheeseburgers, and she insisted on dessert. (There is something humbling about a child choosing to give ice cream to a hungry homeless man. Big heart, big compassion, perhaps a glimpse of what love really is.) So, burgers and ice cream in hand, Brandon drove back to the church to deliver dinner. I was wondering if the man would even be there, or had he gone on to find someone who would actually give him money? Yet, there he sat. He gratefully took the small bag, and asked Brandon to pray with him. Then, he began to pray, and thank God for us! Brandon prayed for him and talked with him before getting back in the car. I could hear everything that they said, and I just sat in my seat with my heart in my throat. Hearing someone so needy praise God is a humbling experience, and hearing my husband pray with him and for him was one of the most precious things. The man called himself Billy that night, but only God knows who he really is. All we knew is that God told us to feed him that night, and that ice cream sundaes are for homeless people, too.
There is a lot of learning in life. It is precious what can be learned from a six year-old.