WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN? An encounter with a homeless man

by Alan Hicks
by Alan Hicks | Source

"People should be more attentive to the poor in their midst instead of having an attitude against the poor."

I was approached by a homeless man in the parking lot at a local shopping center. He asked me if I had something so that he could get a hot meal. I told him that I don’t know (I didn’t know if I had anything in my wallet or not) so I checked it and saw a lonely five dollar bill. He saw the bill too and said real quick “I have two dollars.” I pitifully looked at him and said well I got three dollars and we promptly exchanged my five for his two. “I hope this helps”, I gulped. We exchanged cordial remarks then parted. Thinking about the fact that I had scripture cards in my pocket, I called him back over, he shuffled back and I handed him a scripture card that read, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh,but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1); giving it to him, saying that it could be used as a bookmark as I quoted this scripture. He responded by pulling out a Bible from his stuff and said to me “my favorite scripture is I John 3:16 not John 3:16” (which I though he meant), He went on to quote “because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers”, he when on to say that people should be more attentive to the poor in their midst instead of having an attitude against the poor, thinking it a big thing to designate their favorite charity as their only place to give and ignoring the hungry ones right in the midst of them.

Source
211 High Gravity Malt Liquor. 211 is police code for robbery
211 High Gravity Malt Liquor. 211 is police code for robbery | Source

Distinguishing between good and evil

“People don’t like giving to the poor when the say they are hungry because they may spend it on alcohol or harmful drugs” I said. He answered, “Christians have the Spirit of Christ within, that is able to discern whether a person is putting on a sham or not, the Holy Spirit lets you know whether a person is truthful. If you are a Christian walking in the Spirit you will not be deceived. After you talk to a person who expresses need, after awhile you’ll know whether it’s right or wrong to do what you feel and give." The profound message I heard was the age old interest in knowing whether a purpose you face is true or not. Distinguishing between good and evil has been sought by man even when we were immortals, during the age of Adam’s innocence. This is the one request of Solomon that he asked when given the chance to ask God for anything he said, ”Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” (I King 3:9)

Sympathy ultimately births purpose

Driving away from the parking lot I remembered when I had similar problems. If I refused this man, the circle indeed would be broken and by participating in this small token of kindness I represented humanity as God’s ambassador knowing that my Father that is in Heaven is well pleased.

TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE THAT IS THE QUESTION, distinguishing street business men from those who really need.
TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE THAT IS THE QUESTION, distinguishing street business men from those who really need. | Source
Source

Strange Encounter

After a minor conversation with a major impact we again parted as I pondered the meaning of this odd meeting. He did say that God brought me there. I didn’t buy anything from the store, I just browsed. Why was I really there? Just to look, to see or to waste time, knowing that in-Christ, no time is wasted and everything is purposeful. This ideal resounded after reflecting back to the tune I heard in the store playing “will the circle be unbroken.” I heard these words before but never heart felt like the tune I heard that seemed to be a primitive version, as if playing on a phonograph (I later found out this was the original Carter Family's 1927 version that played). It seemed that everybody was humming this tune in the store before this faithful meeting and as I passed one lady sung it out loud. This seemed like an experience from the movie Fallen (when everyone was humming a Stones tune) especially with the words reverberating over and over “will the circle be unbroken”. Then this thought abated when I bumped into the homeless guy named Kevin mentioned earlier. Right before leaving Kevin I asked him did he like yogurt (still having the three dollars I shared earlier). He said yea I love it. I was able to give him two boxes (containing 12) that the soup kitchen rejected earlier because they where over stocked and had a limited shelf life. This is the point when Kevin said “God sent you.” It was cold enough to be kept outside. Kevin told me that he lived in a tent in the woods but not tent city (a community of the homeless) like in my hometown and maybe in yours too.

Tent City, Lakewood NJ

© 2013 Reginald Boswell

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Comments 17 comments

Askme profile image

Askme 3 years ago

I disagree with the post that ended with "Shame on America for being so uncharitable and heartless" We are a Nation that gives and plenty. All you need to do is witness what happens whenever there is a major disaster. We give and give. The only unfortunate part is many times the money given to unscrupulous organizations who use the money for luxury things like limos, private jets and trips to Europe.

Most people I know are truly charitable and give when they can.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

The question is usually who deserves the gift, but like you mentioned, your heart tells you. Thank you for sharing this touching experience. It lifts my spirit as well as it did yours. Hope I do as well when it is my turn.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

What an awesome story. It really encourages me to be more charitable. Thanks for sharing this. It is beautifully written, too.


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

I have friends that are very wealthy, old money, lottery, etc. (Not me, but a few friends.)

One day while driving down the road I saw a man standing in the cold. He was trying to keep his fingers warm by blowing on them. He held up a sign that he would work for food. I stopped to give him my gloves as they were the only things I had on me. He had a winter coat already and a hat. I then drove to a church where one of my wealthy friends was always hanging out. I told her about the man and said that I would like to get some food and take it to him. He was hungry and holding up a sign that he would work for food. I was going to bring him breakfast. She quickly told me that the church had care packages and she would go back with me to bring him a care package.

When we got back to him, in my friend's very expensive car, he was very grateful for the knitted items donated by the ladies at the church, as well as the canned food and other supplies in the care package. I also handed him the last few dollars in my wallet because he needed $2 to stay at the local shelter.

My friend, being as wealthy as she was, sobbed. The thought had never crossed her mind to give anything to someone who was homeless. After meeting that man, she felt ashamed for consistently thinking that all homeless people brought it upon themselves. I politely told her, it could be any one of us. Be thankful for what you have, always.


Reginald Boswell profile image

Reginald Boswell 3 years ago from Alabama Author

AwesomeDebThanks!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa

Wow. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.


Reginald Boswell profile image

Reginald Boswell 3 years ago from Alabama Author

Thanks for the comment (a virtual hub within a hub, lol). I agree with much of what you said and your quote "Jesus said when you are helping the poor you are helping me" and about the responsibility of the "snobby people." Furthermore, Jesus gave us insight about a dynamic in society that won't change. "He said the poor will always be with you" in response to the disciples (i.e. Judas) reproving the lady anointing him with expensive alabaster oil.

I'm not positive but I can almost be certain as long as greed is present there will be poor people. Granted the ranks of the poor may change but there will always be poor people and may I add as long as there are wealth-mongers manipulating the cash flow in their favor to even become richer; people will starve! For the LOVE of money is the root of all evil, not money itself, as some say and suggest. I also agree that the solution to the poverty issue starts with the individual who removes him/ herself from poverty by permanently changing personal habits and convictions and exchanging them for good ones. But change on the macro-level can only take place by an act of God. Only God can remove greed and the inequalities that persist in society. The Christian must either start or participate in a revivial that changes the hearts and minds of individuals and/ or look up, live right and wait for the Rapture.


Aunt Jimi profile image

Aunt Jimi 3 years ago from The reddest of the Red states!

I must tell you that I do not attempt to judge the character of homeless people. I feel I am not qualified and that is not the job God has given me to do. Judging people is God's job because He alone is qualified.

I try to help anyone and everyone I can because that is the task that has been given to me and to everyone on this planet. We are to help one another.

Money is not always what is needed, but if one has an abundance it is good to share that too. If I do what God expects me to do I believe I will receive a blessing. If someone squanders the help I give them, I still get to keep my blessing and they will answer for themselves.

Even alcoholics and addicts need food, but if they choose to use money for other purposes, that is on them. Hopefully they get what they need and that God will have mercy on them.

There is no excuse for anyone to be homeless, hungry, or without necessary medical care in this, the so-called richest nation on earth.

No one criticizes the wealthy drug addicts and alcoholics in our world and there are plenty of them. Instead of criticizing and forcing starvation onto people we deem unworthy because they aren't living their lives the way we think they should, I think it makes more sense to help them as much as we are able and let God sort their character out.

I really believe people are homeless, hungry, addicted, and forgotten so that those people who claim to be Christians can prove that fact to God by doing His work. We should look out for each other, help each other, and leave the judging to God.

Where is the shame of those people who have passed or allowed to be passed, laws that make being homeless and poor a criminal offense? Where is the shame of those people who pass laws or allow laws to be passed that makes it an offense to HELP homeless and poor people? That is where we need to make some judgments and make clear that we judge these laws to be evil and against God.

Pack the City Counsel Meetings with true Christians when these meetings take place and demand that these laws be removed where they exist. When nobody cares, evil takes over.

Homeless and poor people have enough problems without those who think themselves better making it illegal to be what these people can't help being. If the snobby people want poor people removed from their esteemed superior sight then they need to make jobs and safe clean housing available 24/7 to those people who need them.

By making it illegal to be poor these anti-christs are making things worse by giving the poor a criminal record and giving people who want to help the poor a criminal record also.

Jesus said when you are helping the poor you are helping me. Since when does a country that promotes freedom of religion literally make it a crime to help Jesus? Shame on America for allowing these abominable laws to exist and for turning many of our veterans into criminals because they are homeless. Shame on America for making veterans homeless and then making veterans criminals because of no fault of their own.

Shame on America for being so uncharitable, so uncaring, and so heartless towards people in need! How dare anyone with a mindset to criminalize homelessness call him or herself a Christian!!


Reginald Boswell profile image

Reginald Boswell 3 years ago from Alabama Author

carrie Lee Night: when your not used to eating much your stomach draws up and it doesn't take much to get full, you're already blessed.

Teaches12345: grateful for you input, I'm sure you'll agree that giving brings pleasure to those whose essence is love.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

Touching story and glad you shared it with us. We volunteer to help the homeless and needy and often it is the touch (it is from God -- not us) they need to hope again.


Reginald Boswell profile image

Reginald Boswell 3 years ago from Alabama Author

BlossomSB: Thank you for the positive feed back from "the land down under" we called New Jersey the same thing years ago.

Mr Archer: I suppose that you are no stranger to the unexpected dangers that life may bring being from Joplin, thanks for the great comment.


Mr Archer profile image

Mr Archer 3 years ago from Missouri

Absolutely one of the most moving pieces I have ever read. So well written and straight from the heart. And I love the song Will The Circle Be Unbroken featuring Mother Maybelle Carter.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

You have written this so well and the illustration stories add so much to your message. That idea of Becky Katz is worth copying, too.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I wrote a hub on helping the homeless if you would like to read it to get more ideas. I got a Rising Star award for it.


Reginald Boswell profile image

Reginald Boswell 3 years ago from Alabama Author

Great ideal Becky Katz it's wonderful to discover new avenues that one can minister.

Right Dr Cil we must should be aware that there is an unseen spiritual world around us.


Dr Cil 3 years ago

Thank you for sharing! We never know when we may be intertaining angels unaware so we must have faith in God that we are doing what is right in his sight!


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Beautiful thought to share with us. I carry $5 gift cards to fast food places so that I can give them a hot meal. I usually buy five at a time.

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