just last night I had an interesting experience from a homeless person at a local 24 hr coffee shop I have frequented lately. The conversation went like this…
“Can I borrow your glasses?” Said a distraught homeless guy. Surprised at his request i answered “They’re not reading glasses they are prescription, they wont work for anyone but me, i have astigmatisms”.
“can i just try anyway my eyes are getting bad and see if they help?”
“I kind of need them now i’m working on my laptop.” and off i went to try and work on my stupid book. Why would he think that asking for the glasses on someones face would in any way be appropriate? Sure, desperation can lead people to do strange things but man, he may as well have asked for my shoes leaving me shoeless on a cold winter night. And yet what are we called to do as Christians?
You know i claim to be one of those a christian things. Didn’t Jesus say something like “if a man asks for your shirt give him your cloak as well?” ouch! Talk about the rubber hitting the road. Sure, many would make a list of reasonable sounding justifications for why not giving away things that they need themselves is appropriate. My own list is very long but maybe its still very wrong. It’s that crazy God style economy where things are upside down. There’s not talk of giving the coat when its convenient or not giving it if it would leave you in great need yourself. They ask and you give… oh it hurts to realize my lack of complete surrender on that issue. Not that I have much to lose anyway and yet I still have a tendency to cling to the little I have and only give out of my excess.
The glasses in question would have made my life uncomfortable and I don’t have the means to replace them or I wouldn’t be looking through such scratchy lenses. Yet my response to his “Give me! Give me! was No! Mine!” I could have at least let him try them and shown him that they would have been useless to him. But then I would have only been justifying the decision about the appropriateness of giving them away in the first place. Why couldn’t I have said “Here give them a try” if they were not appropriate would he have returned them to me? Or in Gods economy would it even matter if he returned them or not.
If he didn’t return them how would I have reacted? Fuming? Or if he did return them would I have been telling myself what a sacrificial kind of person I had been. Would there would have been a great sense of relief if the glasses were returned? but why? There would only be relief if I wasn’t trusting God for the outcome. What kind of Christian does that make me? Average… yuck probably less, we are wretched creatures us Christians making claims and never living up t them.
Yeah, ok maybe a little harsh but still none of its ours to begin with anyway.
This does not even get into the relationship that could have started between someone i typically ignore and me. I will continue to see this guy in the future and there will likely not be any interaction unless I initiate something. As it is the only people he interacts with now are a few other homeless friends that show up for a couple of hours at late night coffee house for a warm up. Knowing me I would likely recommend expanding their circles… who knows what could happen for them if they were to meet the right person? Ok Ok God knows… I’ll I needed to to was to do it Gods way so that he could work his thing. So far it went my way and well, nothing has changed.