In our parking lot, on my way to lunch with a church member, I saw a red pickup pulling off of Main St. with a couple of women inside.  The driver told me she was out of money and gas and needed help to get to work.  I told her I had nothing on me to help her (the truth), and asked if she could come back later in the day.  We agreed to meet at 3.

She and her friend arrived a little before 3, and I offered to cross the street to 7-11 and buy them some gas.  She agreed.  I walked on over, getting there a couple minutes ahead of them.  I went in a paid for $10 of gas.  I met her in the parking lot, told her what I had done, and walked back to the church.

She said thank you.  I said you’re welcome.

A few minutes later we got a call from her.  Our Administrative Assistant took the call, then told me about it.  The women had called to tell us how insulted she was that I only offered her $10, and that she “just threw it in the trash can.”

I had been warned by others in our office (who have been here longer than I) that these women have been here before looking for handouts.  I believed this, but figured no matter their motivation, what could it hurt to buy them some gas?

I’m not sure what to make of their reaction.  I am quite sure I’ll remember the next time they stop by seeking help.

And I’ll probably buy them another $10 in gas.

Who should learn more from this; me, or them?

3 thoughts on “Trashed

  1. I did something similar one time. I gave some money to a guy in downtown Killeen because I was on my way into a meeting and I didn’t have time to go and buy him something to eat. I am nearly sure he spent it on drugs. I can’t say for sure he did, but there w ere plenty of indications that that is what happened.
    So the question is why do we give? Do we give merely to make us feel better? Do we give to help? Do we give out of duty? guilt? Of do we give for the betterment of the other person? I think that God certainly changes us when we give, but I also believe there needs to at least be the potential for the betterment of the recipient. That doesn’t mean we have to have some sort of guarantee or promise that our giving will be used in a noble manner. It does mean we need to not waste money, or give to harmful activities. I guess that is my very loose measure. Not to mention the role of the Holy Spirit in situations like that. It is not about our conscience being our guide, but the role and prompting of the Holy Spirit plays the leading role in such situations.

  2. Steve — working in Congregational Care as a temp, there is a procedure followed. Nonmembers seeking assistance must come in and sign a form acknowledging receipt of assistance; show drivers license. The form states we will provide a $20 voucher for gas once a year. Gift cards for groceries are $10 or $25—same. Names are kept a database at church. Also there is a metro database mAintained which various nonprofits/churches submit info. Sounds like a lot of tracking; however the vouchers are copied 50 at a time — many calls received daily.. If you would like addl info — let me know. If you have interest, you can talk to them (suggest it be scheduled soon) when you come for Leadership Institute. Blessings — thank you for your blog — love it!!!

  3. Steve, last year a lady walked by our house and told us (we were working in yard) that she needed gas…her car was down at the convenience store/gas station. I offered to drive her down to the station and fill her car up. She did not take me up on the offer and kept walking…looking for a handout. I did the right thing (in my mind) by offering to help and pay for her gas. All she wanted was cash.

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