Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Improper Reaction

If a day goes by where only 5 people beg me for a single coin, I consider it a good day. That would be a very low number. Some parents here have taken their young children out of school and sent them to the streets to sell gum or beg coins from passers-by. Stores of any kind here do not permit customers to walk around the store with backpacks, purses, or any bags. You hand them to a person at the door who stores it in on a shelf until you decide to leave. Today as a friend went into a store to exchange some money, I volunteered to wait outside and hold her backpack so that she did not have to hand it in over the counter. While I was standing there with my sunglasses, Adidas tennis shoes, and shirt that I picked out because it fit me right, a mother holding her baby sent her shoeless 5 year old daughter over to me to ask for a single C├│rdoba (about 5 cents). I did as I had programmed myself to do and simply ignored it. Later, I realized the full weight of the situation.

What do you do when someone asks you for some money? Should you give them some money so you feel better? Do you ignore them and hope the next person gives them a coin? What is the proper reaction? Matthew 25

There is a young man who "works" at the organization that I work with here. He only gets paid if tourists come. An average of 2 groups of tourists come every month for a total monthly income of around $15 for the museum. He gets a cut of that every month. If no tourists come, he doesnt get paid. He lives with his 4 brothers and his mother in a house that is simply four wooden posts wrapped in plastic. We share a lot of things. If I buy a coke, he drinks half. If I buy some cookies, he eats a bunch of them too. The thing is that he will sneak things away that he needs without asking sometimes. What is the proper reaction? I can buy another one and not have it phase my income or comfort level at all. I have been conditioned by my culture to be upset by this. He has stolen MY stuff. But is that really the reaction a Christian should have? I feel guilty for having that reaction. Here´s why. I have something that my brother needs and I hoard it to myself. I should be giving it to him gladly. I should be happily giving out of my wealth and prosperity to my brother who is in need.

I end with this question: Is the greater theft that he took from my excess what he needed, or that I keep from others what they need?



rockymountainpreacherchick said...

Joel, I just want to say, I love reading your blogs. They really convict me. Moving to the suburbs has made me soft at times. Sometimes i hate the fact that Denver is less than 20 minutes away, and I've only been there a couple times. I keep saying when things slow down, but when will that happen? Man, I miss you guys so much. I really need that accountability to stay strong.

Trenton Ivey said...

I Love the question you have at the end of this post. This summer I have been finding that there are more questions than answers. I look forward to hearing all about the trip soon. TTYL.

Barbara Ihrke said...

Is money the answer? or is food? or are shoes? a new dress?
What is the bibical response? Is there a general principle one could follow?