I Was Panhandled

I was panhandled today.  It was interestingly different.  As it was happening I remembered as a child hearing Bing Crosby sing, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime.”  That was the forties – seventy years ago.   How things have changed.  This man asked for forty-one dollars for a bus ticket to New Jersey.  Between my wife and me we had it.

So someone might ask what if it was a scam.  Then shame on him, not shame on me because he could have really needed it.  Then there is Hebrews 13:2, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”  Let me think about this.  Could an angel be bald with a comb-over, glasses, chinos, a sport shirt and Rockports?   Yeah, I think so.

I had just finished listening to a radio report about a refugee camp outside of Damascus, Syria where people have no electricity, no running water and worse – no food. I was probably in a mood to try to help someone.  Maybe God led the man to us because God knew I needed to do something.  While teaching in Uganda village children used to come and browse through our garbage pit.  They would also eat from the school cafeteria garbage area.  All this happened everyday for the six years we were there.  I am still haunted by it.

Someone might say I worked for what I have.  True.  But my education, my teaching opportunities, my physical strength, my twenty-twenty I.Q. are all gifts.  I did not choose to be born when and where.  Good parents, a great wife, a knowledge of Jesus and His love are all gifts, without which, I could be in that Syrian refugee camp.  Stewardship is a sacred responsibility.

Written by Roger Bothwell on April 8, 2015

Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574