To Give or Not to Give

I stopped at a Walgreen’s yesterday to grab a bottle of water in the heat.  While in the store, there was a young man who was in line ahead of me and behind another customer.  When it was his turn to pay for the lemonade/ice-tea drink the cashier told him he was short .25 cents.  It had been on sale when the same young man had brought it before. At the same time, the man ahead of him, prior to leaving and I said we would pay the extra 25cents; no problem.  The man ahead of him put the quarter up first.  When I left out, the same young man asked if anyone could get him something to eat and I stopped.  Another man standing outside of the store turned to me and said don’t give him any money or he will never learn to do for himself.  The young man then said that he didn’t ask anyone for money, he only asked if someone could get him something to eat and it could be from the same Walgreens.  He was hungry.  The other man then said to me, don’t fall for it.  He probably does this every day.  Now I”m pissed off, not at the young man asking for food but at the other guy who was trying to tell me how to spend my OWN money.  What is wrong with people?  The man then went on to say that people like this young man only want money to buy alcohol and drugs on the street and we shouldn’t buy in to that and that he can tell I was a classy woman who probably worked hard for my income and I should just give it away to people on the street who refuse to work.  So that he would finally shut his mouth, I chimed in.  I told him for starters the young man didn’t ask for money, he asked for food.  Secondly, I don’t appreciate anyone telling me what to do with my money EVER!  I do work hard and I’m blessed and I would never look down on anyone who is in need.  I don’t care if the food costs 50 cents or $5.00, how dare people like myself who have and probably waste money everyday on foolish things, not help anyone.  I am a believer that when you give, you should now worry about what someone does with it.  When you give it away, it’s no longer yours anyway.  I asked the young man to go in the store, grab what he wanted to eat and bring it to the register.  He started to cry, grabbed his things and went into the store.  I then turned to the man again and told him that it’s because of uncaring,non-compassionate people like him that people in this country can’t get along.  We should help when we can and where we can especially if we have the means to do so.  I also reminded him that the young man did NOT ask for money as some do; he asked for food because he was hungry.  I know there are facilities he could go to, but for the moment, he wasn’t there.  He was standing in front of us and at that moment, we have a choice.  I was sad about his.  I then watched this man walk away to a sleek gray Mercedes Benz and he was concerned about spending a few dollars to give someone some food?  I turned, went back into the store and chatted with the security guard while the young man grabbed his food.  He grabbed a sandwich, some fruit, two more teas.  I told him to grab a few more and remembered I also had some blessing bags in the trunk of my car that I often hand out to the homeless when I’m out and about.  These bags have essentials like deodorant, soap, socks, tissues and other basic necessities.  I got one of the bags out of my trunk and the man in the Mercedes was walking back into the store.  He waited with us and when the young man returned, he gave $10 towards the young man’s $14.00 tab.  I added $5.00 to the blessing bag in hopes that in this heat, if he needed water or tea, he could afford to get it.

I don’t know this young man’s circumstances and it’s not my concern to know in order to help him.  I had been out of church about an hour and what kind of Christian would I be if I only gave to a church that doesn’t really need my donation.  I sit at home on my computer and I see the tons of GoFundMe requests from people who work everyday and are crying the blues because people won’t give to help them pay a bill.  You have to decide for yourself who you will and will not help, but don’t be so stuck on the lifestyle you have where you are blessed in every aspect of your life and when you come across someone who doesn’t have, you find it hard to give because it comes from your hard earned money.  Most of us are a paycheck or two away from where this young man was and so I don’t judge and I don’t worry about what someone does with the money I give them.

While I drove away, I pondered, to give or not to give and under what circumstances to I choose to give.  I give when my heart says give.  It may be to a cause, organization or to a person, but I don’t allow my choice to be made by being influenced by someone who wants me to be as selfish as they are.  If you don’t want to give, do you, but to tell someone else what to do with their money is crossing the line.  What does it matter to anyone else how I decide to disperse the money I worked for.  I choose to not be selfish and I choose not to worry about what someone does with $5.00 I may give them.  When you know you’re blessed, be a blessing when you can for whatever you decide to be blessing for.  It’s totally up to you.  If you want to be one of those people who walk by a homeless person and not even give them a quarter, that is you.  That’s just not who I am.  I can’t say that I am or am not contributing to the problem of people begging on the street, but I can’t think of how wonderfully blessed I am and not do something.  I always have and I always will.  We are so caught up in acquiring material things that we turn our nose up when someone asks for a snippet of it even if it’s to get a meal when they are hungry.  I may not have a lot of money, but as long as I have a few dollars in my pocket, someone will not go hungry on my watch.

When I got back to my car, I gave the Mercedes driver a blessing bag from my trunk and I asked him to give it to a homeless person when he sees them because I believe he will be more blessed by the act than the person he would give the bag to.  He thanked me and told me to have a blessed day.  I responded, “it just got better”.

To give is always better than not to give and it doesn’t matter how big or how small.  Don’t forget that it could be you or someone you know.