I Gave him Something Better than $5, I Gave him… Part 1

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CHARLOTTE, NC – I’m often asked, “Should I give money to someone who is panhandling?” No one wants another person to suffer. As a Christ-follower, am I not called to feed, shelter, and clothe my fellow man or woman?

This question came up in the community group I attended. One of the members said, “When I give money to someone, it’s between them and God” to which I replied, “It’s between them and you.” I did not win friends or influence, people, that day with my response.

During a Rescue Mission chapel service, I challenged the men to take hold of all God called them to become. I watched one man, in particular, get teary-eyed. I was hoping he said “Yes God” with his heart.

But the shame in his soul reared its ugly head, convincing him that God did not have great and wonderful plans for his life. Sometime later, he walked out the doors of the Mission before completing the program.

I lost track of him until the day I was heading to the Charlotte Rotary Club. As I came to the light by the ramp to I-277, I recognized him. He had a sign that said, “Hungry, will work for food.” I rolled down my window. I didn’t give him any money. I asked when he was going to return to the Rescue Mission. The light turned green and I had to go.

Each Tuesday I checked to see if he was there. A few weeks later he was at the same spot, holding the same sign, panhandling for money. Again, I rolled down my window and asked him when he was going to return to the Mission. Realizing I wasn’t going to give him any money, he never made eye contact with me. I told him we loved him and wanted him back.

This went on for several Tuesdays. Each week I rolled down my window. He learned to ignore me. I prayed that God would grab his heart.

Please join us next week with I Gave him Something Better than $5, I Gave him… Part 2

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Rev. Tony Marciano is the President/CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. He is available to speak to your group. Go to www.charlotterescuemission.org and go to contact us- just ask for Pam.