When my company used to send me on business trips to Pittsburgh, I would always have money left over from my expense account advance. I would purposely look for the homeless poor people around Newark Airport as I was walking my bags through the airport to the parking lot. Whenever I would encounter one I would give them $20. If a person was sleeping on a bus bench, I would quietly slip a $20 bill into their shirt pocket so as to not wake them up.
One day, as usual, I was returning through Newark Airport and I had $50 in my pocket – 2 twenties and 1 ten. Just as I was exiting the airport terminal I spotted 3 homeless people sitting near the doorway, chatting with each other. I just stood there, debating as to how I would divide up $50 evenly between 3 people. “Give two of them $20, and $10 to the third one…” or “Give all $50 to one of them and ask that person to share it with the other two…” I just couldn’t figure it out, and it was making me very uneasy. So, out of total frustration I decided not to give it to any of them. I was afraid that they would fight each other, feeling that one of them got cheated out of $10…or something like that.
As I continued out through the parking areas to my car I started to feel really really guilty. I felt totally miserable by the time I reached my car. Finally, I said, “OK LORD!!! Next time I don’t care how much I have, or however many they are…I’ll get rid of it all! I promise.”
In about a week and a half I found myself returning once again from Pittsburgh: THIS TIME I WAS PREPARED!!! I had 3 $20 bills in my pocket, and it would be easy to just give them away to the first 3 homeless people I met. …or so I thought. Even though it was bitter cold outside – the middle of winter – I could not find even one homeless person in the terminal. Then, as I was walking past the bus shelters, once again…no one! Under the arrivals and departures ramps… no one!!! What was going on here?
That night I returned home with 3 $20 bills in my pocket. I couldn’t understand why I was not able to find anyone to give them to, so I asked God that question when I was doing my evening prayers. It was just then…when God spoke up. “I will not always give you the privilege.” …was what I heard as sure as if someone was in my bedroom speaking to me.
He helped me to realize that, in my engineer’s mind, I had been too complex a week ago. What would a simple child have done? She would have just walked up to the three men and held out the money, not caring which one took it…or whether they would share it with each other.
I was not being simple…like a child. And Our Lord did not give me the privilege to correct that situation the next week. He wanted to teach me a valuable life-lesson.
Be simple…like a child.
Give without expecting anything in return.
Don’t care about what your gift will accomplish…don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.
Sound familiar? It should…it’s all in the Bible.
So now, whenever I see a poor or homeless person, I try my best to be simple…and just give whatever I can. I don’t worry about what they will spend it on. I don’t expect any thanks. I just remember that Jesus taught me, “Whatever you do to the least of these little ones, you do unto Me.”
…and that’s enough.
I hope that this helps you.
God bless you!