This past weekend was filled with counsel about serving one another. It really touched me and made me want to serve those around me more often. Not necessarily with big things, but the small gestures that can amount to a great day.
So, today after work I headed to the grocery store to pick up a few things. I never carry cash anymore, but at that moment, I happened to have a little bit in my wallet. I decided that I wanted to give it away. I said a little prayer that I would notice someone who needed it more than I did. Generally, I look for those who stand on the side of the road with the various signs explaining their situations. This was more prevalent in SLC, but here in Springfield, the population of homeless people has been growing, sadly.
Driving along, I saw no one. I figured this was actually a good thing and I went about shopping for my groceries. Afterward, I headed to my car and proceeded to put my groceries in my trunk, completely forgetting about the previous little prayer I had said in my heart.
While loading up my items, a woman approached me with a baby in an old stroller. I was wary at first (I get nervous when people approach me like that in slightly bare parking lots). But something about her and the fact that she had a child with her softened my response. I listened patiently as she told me they were from out of state and trying to get back home. She had left her boyfriend and needed to round up some money for a bus ticket, etc. I was still a little apprehensive when it dawned on me to just gently ask her the question that was on my mind. "Will you promise me that you aren't trying to scam me?" She was surprised by the direct question and told me there really wasn't any way to prove that she was in need of help. "I don't need proof, I just want to know if you will promise me." Again, taken back by the statement. She promised me and I talked to her a little more, suddenly remembering that I had asked for this and I was standing there completely oblivious to this huge answer to my prayer. I told her my feelings on the situation: It is my responsibility to help if I can, and it is her responsibility to use the money wisely. I gave her what little I had and we both went our separate ways.
Is there a guarantee that she was telling me the truth? No. But that is what faith is for. It isn't my problem if she was lying to me. It would only have been my problem if I had ignored her and treated her as if she were beneath me, especially after praying for a specific opportunity to serve.