“Your legacy is defined in the values, the convictions and the hope you bestow upon the world. Therefore, it is not just something you leave – it is something you entrust.” – Unknown writer for The Salvation Army
When I pass the man with the cardboard sign, many things run through my mind. Usually, one of the first things is the wonder of his or her reason for being there. Are they truly homeless? Why are they looking for a handout? Can they not work?
I stopped in for a quick purchase at a local pharmacy last Sunday. My attention was drawn to a man waving at each passerby. At times, he was waving his hand just inches from the windows of the vehicles that would stop at the intersection. I honestly thought that the guy was just trying to make a buck. He was trying so hard to be noticed. What really grabbed my attention was the brand new baseball cap on his head. A few years ago, I had witnessed a supposed homeless man counting a huge wad of money, just a few blocks from where this guy was standing. Although, It is probably a great advantage to use the area. It’s always thriving with traffic.
I went into the pharmacy and took care of my business. As I was walking back to my car, I noticed him again. Waving, desperately. I have packages for the homeless that I keep in my car, so I decided to drive by and hand him one.
As he approached my passenger-side window, I handed the bag to him. He honestly looked like he could not believe that I had something for him. In a low, almost silent voice, he said “Thank you! God bless you!” Was his day made because of my little handout? I don’t know.
I have always had a tender spot on my heart for the homeless. Most times, like Sunday, I wonder if the men or women I encounter are actually homeless? Sometimes I stop and speak to them for a little while, and try to recognize their sincerity. Even if they aren’t being honest, I still give.
“For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.” Matthew 25:35-36 (NKJV)
The legacy quote in the beginning of this writing is nice. I received a pamphlet with the quote on it, and it is about leaving part of my estate upon death to the Salvation Army. The part that grabbed my attention this morning was the sentence that reads, “Your legacy is defined in the values, the convictions and the hope you bestow upon the world.” Values. Convictions. Hope.
It is within our true intentions that our heart is shown to the world. I don’t have to explain what the Salvation Army does for the world to most, but through Christ, their values are made manifest. Their convictions are conveyed. Their hope in Jesus Christ, and how they uphold His nature is within the evident changes they have made throughout the world. They are humbled servants. I know a little about the organization, and they are truly doing God’s work.
When we drive by the man or woman on the street, do we really know why they are there? Most of us would never stand on the street corner and beg for things, but what if it was the only option we had? What if you were starving? What if you lost everything, and your mental stability destroyed your life to the point of no longer caring about yourself? No home, no food and no other way? If Jesus was standing on that corner, and you didn’t know it was Him, would your pride stand between a meal for Him?
What are your values? What are your convictions? Where is your hope?
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” Matthew 25:40 (NLT)