Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Do You Help a Beggar?

Interesting happenings in the Target parking lot today. The girls and I were on our way to purchase some bird seed to feed ducks at a local park, when a man tried to summon my attention in the parking lot. Now, I am a very scared and cautious person and especially as a parent and this is usually the point I lock my doors and pedal to the medal away from there. But this time I locked the doors and driving slowly, cracked my window to see if he was seeking directions or something. He held up an obviously broken car belt and explained his car was broken down and he just needed help purchasing this car part, $27.00 is all, he said so he could get his car fixed. He also added he wasn't getting paid until the first of the month and was sort of stuck. SCAM! I thought... so I said I didn't have any change to give him, rolled up my window and went on my way to the store.

Now the story doesn't end just yet. As I drove away from this man, I listened to my thoughts. I have been reading the book of Mormon this year and just recently finished the book of Mosiah. I have been praying for the Lord to give me experience and help me to gain a stronger testimony of the spirit and of the book of Mormon. I started to ponder, if this man's needs are justified or not isn't up to me to judge. If all he needs is a part from the store across the street, what harm would it do to go and buy that part for him. I thought more on this (In the whole 2 minutes it took to park and get the kids out), if I were in need of something, which only a few months ago wouldn't have been to hard to imagine, why would anyone trust me over someone else asking for help. And suddenly I felt very strongly to offer the man help after I was done in the store, that I would meet him at the auto parts store and pay for that part. Then I thought, no that waste's my time and I could use $27 in so many other ways. But the prompting returned, you can help this man and it's not your place to judge. We were so blessed in the last few months while we experienced close to poverty in our own family, I decided to trust that prompting and offer the service to this man.

Now I really, and I mean REALLY never do this! We got our bag of bird seed and drove across the street and I said a silent prayer, let this man be an honest man and let this be of actual help to him today, and even if he is not I prayed that the Lord would honor this service and help him somehow. He was there, the part was retrieved from behind the counter and cost exactly the $27. He thanked me profusely and offered to pay me back somehow, so I told him to find someone else to do a good deed for when he was able.

I don't know what his real story or real intent was, but I feel sometimes God is testing us and wants to see what we are willing to do, if we are willing to share some of what we have, be it food, money, time, or talents. And I guess all I can do is trust that this man is also a child of God and that somehow I may have made his day a little easier to live through.

And I pose the question: what would you have done in my situation?


Kerri said...

I love what you did. You were prompted to help someone, you listened, and hopefully made a difference to someone.

I like to give to people, even if I know they'll be back on the corner tomorrow, but I don't always do it. It kind of depends what's in my wallet. I've never done anything as specific as what you just did. I think it's cool.

Kay said...

I'm even more of a skeptic than you are! And usually I don't have money on me so that helps, but I should probably do more to help others. Luckily, I have a husband who usually helps people. He offers rides, money, help, whatever he can, trusting that they really need it. He's got a good heart. Hopefully he balances us out! ☺

I think it does say something that the guy met you at the store for the part and actually purchased it. Maybe it wasn't such a scam. And like you said, it's not your place to judge. Go you!

Kami and Erik said...

you are a great example to many! You have inspired me to be a little more giving to those I see whole really need the help!

Brooke Jenkins said...

Awesome story. Thanks for sharing.