By Jake Wilson, Relationship Manager at TPF
I met Freddy at a recent trip to a local Dallas-area homeless shelter. Sitting unassumingly and alone, he looked down at his crossed hands. I wasn’t sure if he was waiting, praying, or perhaps even sleeping, but I walked over to him and sat. I introduced myself and made some sort of attempt at small talk – probably a generic weather comment. He glanced up at me and replied, “You don’t have to talk to me.”
Surprised by his response, I gathered myself, and continued my conversation. Freddy eventually warmed up and turned out to be quite the talker. He shared his story with me. I learned about his younger days, the reasons for his current homelessness, and his testimony of faith. But even as we continued our conversation, I could not stop thinking about his initial statement. “You don’t have to talk to me.”
This really struck a chord with me. From Freddy’s perspective, I was just some young, naïve guy in a coat and tie that didn’t know the slightest bit about the struggles of homelessness. Some privileged kid in his twenties completely out of his regular element that only started up a conversation out of pity, guilt, or maybe self-righteousness. Freddy had seen this far too many times, and was simply going to let me off the hook.
And as I reflect on my interaction with Freddy, in many ways he was right. I would not have planned to have been there at that shelter to spend my free time visiting with a homeless man that day. I was simply early to a scheduled meeting that I had with the shelter staff. I approached Freddy because I felt bad about him sitting there alone. I was certainly not being the honorable Good Samaritan that a passerby might think.
All too many times we pass up opportunities to not only assist the needy, but overlook opportunities to make a connection with them at all. And when we do, it is at our own convenience. It is dropping a dollar into a beggar’s hat without even making eye contact. It is our own little way of patting ourselves on the back. It is our way of checking off our one good deed of the week. But that is not what true charity should be about. Charitable acts should come from our hearts. PEOPLE CHANGE THE LIVES OF OTHER PEOPLE. It’s imperative that we remember this, as we strive to recognize everyone as another child of God with their own stories of joy and sorrow.
James 2:16 says, “And one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?”
We must not just donate our thoughts and well-wishes. We also have to share our time, energy, and resources. We must be good stewards of what God has given us. And we must remember and embrace ALL of His children.
TPF exists to enable and expand mission. We can expertly help you with your stewardship, as well as provide an efficient means of connecting your resources to a cause that makes an impact for good. I hope you’ll reach out to us today to learn about the various charitable giving opportunities that we can administer for you.
The Freddy in each of our lives needs more than best wishes – he needs the reassurance that we recognize him as a brother in Christ.