Within the past 4 days, I've had two experiences with people in need. One broke my heart, the other actually scared me.
Thursday evening as me and Steven Riggs finished eating at McDonald's we closed in prayer before leaving. A nearby fellow after over hearing our prayer asked for prayer. His name is Charles Alexander Williams, and he is homeless in greenville. He had come in with a small pizza and a drink someone had bought for him at Dominoes. His real worry though was where he was going to stay that night with temperatures dropping down to about 30. He asked for a place to stay, but I couldn't offer him one, which broke my heart because that was the only thing he needed. I promised him I'd remember him in prayer every day for the next few weeks.
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed", but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? James 2:15-16
Since then in prayer, I've not only lifted up Alexander's name, but I've also sought out how to help those who are homeless.
Then last night after returning from the winter retreat, I went to cookout for some food after getting groceries. There was another fellow there who had just gotten a lil food. After getting mine, he asked for some money, which I sadly had abosolutely none I could give him save a few dimes i had left from getting mine. He then followed me to my vehicle asking for a ride. There was something about him I couldn't trust, and the fact that he kept reaching into his pockets and his coat wasn't helping.
He then said he needed my vehicle, which really set off some alarms in the back of my mind. I told him i was sorry and that I couldn't help him. He then asked to see my hat which he then intentionally dropped on the ground. I guess he was trying to get me riled up and angry. I just picked up my hat and proceeded to get in my vehicle and leave. Thankfully after that he walked off.
Reflecting a short time later, it really scared me. My fear didn't show while i was talking to him, but later I realized that I could have been mugged or worse. Thats not what leaves me worried though, because I trust in Jesus. I spent the retreat weekend praying, and beginning to let God prepare my heart to help the homeless as over spring break. I will be heading to Philladelphia then to work with other people in need within the city.
Problem now is after those two encouters I have no idea how to help people in need. How far is it wise to go? How far should i open myself up and be vunerable to who knows what and still be able to help others?
All in all, I'm recognizing a whole lot more that Christ needs to work in me on. If you have any thoughts on this, any wisdom at all please share it with me.