Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Red Light, Green Light

As I was driving out of town the other day I reached over to grab something from the passenger side floor. Was I surprised when I pulled up a $10 bill. Nothing makes me happier than to find money I didn't know I possessed!!! So after completing my "happy-i-found-my-money" dance & placing my cash on the passenger seat I noticed the light ahead was turning red.

As I slowed down I noticed a man standing on the corner. OH NO! He was holding a placard with the words "VietNam Vet. Will Work for Food"....My first thought? "GOD MAKE THIS LIGHT TURN GREEN". (I didn't say it was a good or kind thought but i'm trying to be honest here.) Needless to say it was the longest red light I have ever sat through! My inner dialogue went something like this:

me: i am not giving that man my $10.

the voice: why not?

me: because i just found it!

the voice: who do you think gave you the thought to reach over there?

me: i'm not going there with You.

the voice: chuckle - then that light will never turn green.

me: but he'll probably just waste the money - look, the liquor store is right over there!

the voice: is what he does with the $10 any of your business?

me: well....no....WHY DOESN"T THIS LIGHT TURN GREEN!

the voice: we already covered that one. two minutes ago you didn't even know you had $10. and now you are clinging to it. what's that about?

me: hmmm...good point....why am i clinging to it? because of my grasping nature i suppose....good grief....what is wrong with me? (as i rolled down the window the man reached in, took the money, and said "God Bless You Dear" at which point the car behind me started honking)

the voice: um, roberta, the light changed....you really should get moving.

me: very funny!

the voice: and thank you....

me: for what?

the voice: for being you. i do so love you!

me: likewise :)

4 comments:

kristin said...

I know EXACTLY what you are talking about, as this is almost always what happens when I see a person by the roadside, with a sign asking for help from the passersby. I almost always go thru the SAME series of questions within my head, asking myself what he (or she) will do with the $$...reminding myself of the times that I was "hoodwinked" by a person asking for a "handout" (which has happened MANY timtes over the yrs)...asking myself what I am most concerned about: MY reaction and/or motives - OR - that other person's reactions and/or motives. After all, THEY are not "my responsibility"...right? What was that famous bit of dialogue between Cain and God, back in Genesis...the one about being "his brother's keeper"? Am I supposed to take that SERIOUSLY? I can't say I have always followed that "still, small voice", and offered that gift, when faced with a scenerio like you just faced. Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Either way, that person's face, looking back at me, remains with me for days. I cannot know, for certain what their motives are, or why they are asking for help. It would be simpler, in some ways, to be cynical, and think the worst. But, what I CAN try to ascertain is why I am responding like I am....and what my own "grasping nature" means. Is it pleasing to God? If I give, for the RIGHT REASONS, then that gift MAY very well bring about good (like ripples in a pond). And, to go one step further, IF I remember to PRAY for that person, when giving, I have responded in a way that BUILDS up the Kingdom of God...reinforcing the fabric of goodness, of His grace and glory...rather than to cause more unraveling...

What if, the next time I see a person standing beside the road, asking for help, that sign is addressed TO ME? Will I pay more attention, and be more motivated to act in a Christ-like manner?

What a timely and meaningful post you have offered today! Thank you so very, very much.

Jan said...

Thank you for telling this story, Roberta. Bless you.

laurie said...

I love you too!

kristie said...

beautiful!