Silver and Gold Have I Some

Posted: October 29, 2008 in Uncategorized

Have you ever gone by a person on the street with a sign asking for money and not wanted to give them any?  Have you ever experienced that warm glow-y feeling when you DO stop and give them some?

That happened to me the other day – except not the warm glow-y part.

Seriously, I went by this lady in a grocery store parking lot holding a sign that said, “Single Mom- Anything Helps.”  I felt the internal nudge of my conscience and the Holy Spirit and something amazing happened:  it annoyed me.  Yes, I was annoyed by the prompting of God.  I was on my way home and I only had a $20 dollar bill and I didn’t want to give her that much and I don’t think it’s really okay to ask for change.

So, it would be awesome to tell you that I just obeyed the nudge and went and gave it to her, but that’s not how the story goes.  What I chose to do instead is drive around the stupid parking lot, trying to figure out if it was really wise for me to give her the money or not.  I mean, times are tight.  People are worried.  It’s important to be frugal and smart with our resources.  As I drove aimlessly, my mind suddenly started playing the big screen pictures of the things that I have bought recently:  groceries we didn’t get around to eating, clothes I’ve never worn, books I haven’t read and probably never will, many dinners out.  Wise?  No.  But I do it because – I reason – it’s my money.  I worked for it.  And yet, I always say that it’s His.  And if He wants to spend it on a poor woman in a lonely parking lot, it’s His deal.  I just really, really wanted to give her  something smaller than a twenty.

Finally, I scraped together the measure of compassion necessary to part with my precious money and I took it to the woman.  She looked at me and said, “God bless you.”  And in that moment I knew…He had found me there.  He had used her need for money to address my paralyzing need for control.  He used the faith that she had in making the ASK, to get to the root of the fear that causes me to cling to my comfort.

I said, “Thanks.  He really does.”

And I drove away not with a warm, glow-y feeling…but instead just really wishing I was a lot more like Jesus.

Clearly still learning,


  1. Helen says:

    Oh Bo…this hits me where I have been living…and since I am on a blog hiatus…I am glad you saved me the trouble of writing this…I had a similiar experience last week minus the trips around the parking lot because I was on an overpass…no time to spare…it is easy to look away…it is easy to look down…it is easy to pretend you have to pick up something that suddenly fell to the floor to avoid the hurting eyes…but I have been memorizing Romans 12 and it has sent my life as I thought it was…as I realize it really is…puddled around my feet.

    I challenge anyone to read from verse 2 on and after each verse repeat verse 1…we are to be living sacrifices…why? In view of God’s mercy…so the last couple of weeks have been realizing that I don’t always share what I have with God’s people…we are all God’s people…I don’t always want to associate with those in lower positions…on and on it goes in Romans 12…it is humbling…but it has changed my perspective…changed the way I pray…in fact it is a great chapter to pray through…

    So…you may have not felt the warm fuzzy afterglow…but I would say that you helped to define being a living sacrifice…even if it did take a few trips around the lot.

  2. bolovesjoe says:

    Helen…thanks for you comment. I woke up this morning reluctant to spend another day in Job’s spinning life, so I think I’m going to take a little detour. 🙂

    I’m off to spend some quality time in Romans 12…

  3. Tracy says:

    This is my daily struggle….I’m in the middle of ‘No other Gods” by Kelly Minter. Totally transforming me from the inside out.
    The other day I was going to meet a friend for coffee. Saw a nice man with a sign. Decided I’d order myself coffee, grab a bagel for him for breakfast and run it out to the corner. Won’t take much time and will probably bless him. Handed him the bagel, he was thrilled, then asked, ‘Do you think you could spare some change for a coffee?’. A coffee? you want coffee? Of course he wants coffee, we all want coffee, only he can’t get it every morning like I can! Ugh…back into starbucks, 10th person in line, my poor coffee date waiting patiently with this look of ‘what in tarnation are you doing batgirl?’
    Long story short! I have way to much and the guys on the corner have just as much desire and more need for them the me! Give em Coffee and give em Jesus!

  4. Ann Dunagan says:

    We can learn a lot from these details of what was going on in your thoughts regarding asking God for “wisdom” concerning that struggle to give that lady $20 bucks . . . while realizing how many times we ALL freely plop down our dollars or credit card . . . for things we don’t need at all . . . and don’t even think of asking God for His direction.

    Yes, I want to be more like Jesus too!

  5. Anne B says:

    Ok, you already know this but for the record I’ll be so bold as to say that I think ‘what if they buy ‘bad’ stuff with the money?’. Ugh..that’s trying to control what God is telling me to do or bargain my way out of it (or maybe I’m just making excuses because it takes me out of my comfort zone).

    Thanks for being so honest and sharing what people like me are afraid to admit about ourselves!

  6. Joy says:

    I totally can relate.

    Money is tight, and yet, I find myself, the most cheap, frugal person on planet earth, giving more away than I ever have before.

  7. ELizabeth McColl says:

    You know, this conversation uncomfortably hits exactly at the core of my being and touches something with which God is working on me right now.

    You see, God is more concerned about what He is doing in me and how I am being formed into the likeness of Christ than whether or what the “single mom” might want to do with any money I might offer her. Let it be said, my greedy little paws have no trouble in visiting the new Gottschalks and spending all of my monthly allowance in one fell swoop (I could argue that I was buying Christmas presents so it was OK…but that’s not the point). I noticed the little slogan on the plastic carrier – “all about you,” and thought, yes, unfortunately I am buying into the USA/UK culture of give me, give me, give me. God is doing a new work in me and winning through when I obey Him in giving to the least of these, no matter what I think. That’s part of my obedient living right now – tithing, saving and giving…I am learning, but as usual, it is a slow process. Sometimes I think that it would be simpler to live as Jesus lived in a country where “hand to mouth” living was part of the norm – I am not saying it would be easier, but simpler…still thinking on that one…

    I have heard (and used) the argument over and over again, “but what if they are going to do bad stuff with it…what if they are pretending and actually they are well heeled and posing as poor…they don’t need it as much as I do?..”etc., but I cannot get away from Matthew 25…just who was Jesus referring to when he talked about the sheep and the goats? None of our stuff is ours…it’s all His.

    So, thanks Bo for being honest enough to admit that you struggle as much as the rest of us and still have a hard time in letting go.

  8. Karen says:

    I struggle with this one, having had so many run ins with the scammers ….who truly do buy “bad stuff” with it. I hate the lying and cheating, and so I become distrustful and judgmental. An easy way around that has been for me to offer food or that cup of coffee, which some times is met with disdain.

    I stopped to grab doughnuts for Sunday School years ago and a homeless man asked for money for food. I went back into the store and bought peanut butter and crackers and fruit and took it to him and listened to him cuss me out all the way back to my car. I carried that “lesson” for a long time.

    The distinction between enabling an unhealthy life and helping someone in need is so hard to determine….I guess it’s always better to take the risk ….

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