My friend Bob usually sits on Raymond Ave in Pasadena asking passerbyers for change.
We have a pretty good relationship-we’ve gone out to eat a few times; I share with him my life; he shares with me his life stories and often gives me marriage advice; and we have plenty to talk about as we enjoy Old Town together.
We often think the poor are for us to help, but this week demonstrated the untested adage that we may need them more than they need us.
This Thursday evening, Bob and I were at Goodwill together getting him a new bag for a sleeping bag someone handed to him. I helped him with the purchase. And as we were loading his bicycle with his new gear, I took a step back with this gripping thought:
I will take into heaven as many possessions as this homeless
person in front of me-which is absolutely nothing.
Both Bob and I will die one day, and we both will carry nothing we’ve bought, inherited, or stolen with us into the next life. The material difference between him and me are currently vast, but in the eternal perspective, there exists none.
The reality of that undeniable fact shook my middle-class existence for a brief moment. And it was so necessary.
It is necessary to be reminded that there is not much that separates us as human beings (as I think about the rich in the Pasadena who often scoff at the poor) but that we are all nakedly heading towards death one day.
It is necessary to be reminded that all my possession-getting and my addiction of addition is ultimately a moot and vain endeavor. That perhaps the measure of a person is in not what they gained, but in what they gave. Not in what they accumulated, but in what they relinquished for the prosperity of others.
Finally, it is necessary to be reminded that it doesn’t take much to be generous. We had homeless woman in our Life Group at our church for a while. She loved being there and one time at our holiday festivals, she baked an amazing and huge dish for us to enjoy. Even though she had the least, she gave the most. Yes I am reminded that for we who have many-what excuse do we have to not give?
You may never read this, but thank you Bob for what you have given me this week. May your humble and sweet life continue to bless those around you as I know you do always.