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