Monday, June 19, 2006

Beware the Deceiving Serpent

Was at church rehearsing with the band for the Life Teen service about to start within the hour, when a strange man entered the church. He knelt in a pew, and prayed. He then moved to the alter, and knelt for a bit. When the band took a break before the service, he came up to me and asked to talk, moving to the back of the church. We sat down, and he introduced himself, and then I noticed his head was all black and blue. He told me his car broke down, and he was mugged afterwards. He explained that he was trying to get to his home about four hours away. He asked for money, and a ride to meet someone who was going to give him a ride home.
I have heard countless sermons about helping those in need, and how we are all called to live our faith throughout our lives. I must confess, I did not ponder his peril all that long; and found myself giving this guy money, and a ride. My friend, and band director, showed trepidation about what was taking place, but I left the church with this man, and away we went.
He did con me into taking him farther than we bargained for, but I took him, and dropped him off where he asked. He did not fill in all the pieces to his plight, and I nervously joked that I did not have to worry about him robbing me, for I gave him all the money I had. He told me that several doors were closed in his face, when he asked for help.
I did not tell him that I was unemployed myself, or the hours I put in the day before earning that money helping a neighbor with his haying operation in the 90 degree sun. If he was deceiving me or not, I told myself that he needed the money a lot more than I. One thing for sure, if he deceived me, he surely did not deceive God. If we enter into acts of kindness with suspition and trepidation, no one would ever get a helping hand.
I returned to church, and my friend expressed his fears for my safety, recounting stories from the past about those who he encountered under false pretense. My answer to him was centered around the question, what would Jesus do? I told him it was all in God's hands, and that I felt I had to help. We are constantly called to live out our faith as we go through life. Yes, my pocket was $ 40.00 lighter, but my heart was lighter beyond measurement. Did a small part of me experience the joy of commiseration over someone else's trials larger than mine? I'd like to think that I did receive a much greater appreciation of the evaluation of my blessings. We go through life, only too much with great disregard for the things we should be grateful for.
If this snake bit me, only God knows for sure, but I know that I am still the better for it.

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