Giving shouldn't be messy, right?

I'd like to share that I am a charter member of the Bible Gateway Blogger grid.  My blog can be found listed among their recommend blogs and it will be tweeted under #bgbg2.  I've very excited about this opportunity.  Bible Gateway, is a terrific website that I've used since I began blogging.  It's an honor to be connected with them in such a way.  You can also now find me on twitter @lovehisglory.

It's that time of year, where you can hear the tinkling of the Salvation Army bells asking for money for the homeless.  I've walked by those bells, one too many times this year, but today I was determined to be ready.  I made sure I had lots of change in my purse - enough so both of my kids could enjoy putting some money in and hear the sweet thank you of the volunteer.

So off we drove to the grocery store.  As we approached, I saw a lady in a large red winter coat getting ready to cross the street.  She had a filled, black garbage bag in her cart and she pushed it very slowly.  Homeless (I assumed).  I imagined what it would be like to ask her to my home for dinner that night, taking her in under my wing.  Ah, but it was a busy road, no time for that.  So I kept driving.

I had to wait on traffic to get into the parking lot and as I pulled up to a prime parking spot, guess who came slowly walking by?  The lady in the red coat.  As I hopped out of my car, with my kids, I was able to see her a little closer.  If I wanted to, I could actually talk to her.  But what would I say, "Are you homeless?" "Do you want some of the change in my pocket?" Or maybe, I was being presumptuous before.  That's right, she's not homeless, she's just out on a leisurely walk, how silly and rude of me to assume otherwise.

We went through the store, gathering our food, that I knew we could easily afford.  The dessert aisle was filled with bumper to bumper traffic; everyone was getting ready to make sweet things for their loved ones.  We finally finished up our shopping and had to stand in the checkout line.  It was busy today.  And guess who I saw standing near by?  Looking at books.  And talking to herself.  The addition to her black garbage bag, Sunkist soda pop.  Putting all the elements together once again I concluded, yes, she was homeless.  She was inside, probably to stay warm.  But it was almost our turn to checkout and now someone was standing behind us.  And remember, she was talking to herself.  What was I to do?  Go up with my two kids and risk making a scene?  Perhaps the store has a policy preventing the homeless from loitering.  What could I do to help this lady?  Not wanting to risk any uncomfort for the lady (or for me), I decided to do nothing.

I walked out of the store, my ears straining to hear those bells.  I so wanted to drop my coins in - to say that I see the suffering and I want to help with my extra dimes and pennies.  But today, there were no bells.

I headed out to my car and a young man with a gas container was asking the people parked next to me for assistance.  "I ran out of gas, please help me."  I've fallen for this one in the past. Why, in fact, last week, a friend on Facebook stated how she filled a tank with gas and then watched them go in and spend $40 on cigarettes.  This time the fool wouldn't be me.  I walked in a wide circle past, making sure he moved on before he tried to pull a fast one on me...

And I hopped into my warm car, groceries full in the trunk, wondering if I had made a mistake for not turning back.  This lady and man were someone's daughter and son.  Maybe no longer loved or cared for and here I went driving on...  

I wished there had been those bells, tinkling softly, so I could show my children what it means to be generous and to give (without it being messy).

In Christ,

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