Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thank goodness it wasn't a bag of trash

For a while now, I've been carrying something called a "hope bag" in my car with me. It consists of water, non-perishable foods, chapstick, socks and the like and is intended to be handed out to the poor and homeless, should I come across them. My sister started carrying them in her car as part of a project started in her RCIA class at church. I thought it was a thoughtful idea, but I really didn't see it being a worthwhile idea. She told me how moved she was the first time she passed them out, so I told her I would put one in my car. That bad boy has been bouncing around in my car for so long, I had all but forgotten about it. I was approaching a stop light close to downtown Houston on Monday afternoon and I saw an older gentleman standing with his poster under the street light. His words were simple. "Homeless. Need food. Anything will help." He looked tired, broken and probably hadn't seen clean clothes or running water in weeks. For the first time, I was willing the light to turn red and it did. I reached into the backseat and grabbed my hope bag. He started to walk towards me and I rolled down the window and held out the plastic grocery bag for the taking. He looked me square in the face, and with tears in his eyes said, "Thank you. God Bless you ma'am." Of course, I had no great words of hope and could only utter the words "God Bless You" back. Here stood a man, who had more reason than any of us not to believe in God's grace and HE was blessing ME. How incredibly humbling. As I rolled the window up and began to pull thru the now green light, I looked back in my rearview mirror at the man as he opened up the bag to see what was inside. It was then that I had the sudden realization, Holy crap! Please tell me I didn't hand him a bag of trash! But as I saw him open up the bottle of water, my fear subsided. Many things came to mind as I drove home that afternoon. 1. For the least of us is greatest in His eyes. 2. Whatever you did to the least of my breathren, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:31-46) 3. My next hope bag should be brightly colored and clearly labeled "Hope Bag" so as not to be mistaken for a bag of trash.

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