We are all familiar with the sight of an old man standing at a traffic light, unshaven, wearing tattered clothing and holding up a sign that reads: "No Job, No Food. Please help." We see it so often that many people do not even take notice of him anymore. Some people are even angered by the sight of just another beggar. Most of us feel guilty and awkward, and, trying to avoid the hopeful eyes looking at us, we pretend to look for something in the ashtray of our car or suddenly paying close attention to what our fellow passengers are saying. Anything to keep us from making eye contact with the sad reality of today's life.
Whether we have become immune to the plight of our fellow human beings, or whether we get angry at them or try to ignore them, the truth is that most of us are afraid. We are afraid of getting involved with them, we are afraid of caring too much. We are scared of what it might ask from our comfortable lives if we were to get involved.
You see, we want to be in control and we fear to be taken for a ride, to be made fools of or to be conned. What if this beggar is just plain too lazy to work, or a drunk, and he is just going to use my hard earned cash to buy himself another drink? We want to have a say what he does with our silver, once we drive off.
We want a guarantee that our handouts will make a real difference. Or is that too, just an excuse so that we can sleep easier in our cozy beds tonight?
We live in a needy world. All around us there are people in dire need of something. Homeless and destitute families, children abandoned and unloved, animals dropped at overflowing animal shelters and the elderly left alone and confused at old age homes. We hear about it, read about it and sometimes come face to face with it, but seldom do we reach out and help. We are too afraid of what it will cost us, not just in money. We don't help the stray that enters our yard, the sight of his matted hair disgusts us. We don't visit the old and frail, because we are embarrassed at having to laugh at the same old story, or bored of looking through the same album of
photographs of people I don't know. We don't want to foster a child because we read of people being murdered in their beds by their adopted children. We don't want to go out and discoloured spreading the Gospel, afraid to be met with ridicule or contempt. We fear rejection of our faith. It is so much easier to sit at home and read our Bible and witness to fellow believers than what it is to take the amazing message of Jesus to people who may or may not accept it.. testify the world,
We are afraid to take a chance on people, the risks seem just too great. We cannot predict success or failure, so we rather turn away and let it become somebody else's problem.
It makes me thankful for farmers. I am of the opinion that farmers understand the concept of faith. Despite all the modern technology and scientific advances that have been made, farmers still do not have an absolute guarantee that their crops will be a success or that the return on their livestock will be worth the time and money they have invested. Yet, still they
and plant. They buy piglets, lambs and chicks all because they have faith and expectations of good. They give meaning to the saying, nothing ventured, nothing gained. plough
Surely the people around us are worth more than a packet of seeds or a herd of cattle? After all, is the price of kindness really too great? Can we truly not afford to invest a bit of time or to part with a few cents that can hardly buy a loaf of bread?
In Ecclesiastes 11:6 I read this:
"In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good."
Let us step out of our comfort zone and sow the seed of love and caring. We are not responsible for its growth or its success, we just have to sow the seed...