Don The Armour

September 15, 2023

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Mark 10:45 (ESV)


There are certain times when our faith seems to be tested, and for me, one of those times is when I interact with the homeless. I live in a rural area, so it’s rare for me to encounter them, but when I do, it feels like everything I profess to believe is on the line, knowing full well how many verses there are in the Bible about the importance of helping the poor and homeless.

I experienced this recently when a homeless man approached me at a gas station, explained his situation, and humbly, almost shamefully, asked for some money and a ride to Walmart. I listened to his story, gave him some sympathy, a few bucks, and a “God bless,” then left as quickly as I could, apologizing for not being able to take him to Walmart because it wasn’t on my way.

I drove away in shame, feeling like a hypocrite.

While I gave him money, my heart wasn’t set on helping him. It was more like paying him off so he’d go away. Where was the servant’s heart that Christ had for us? The self-sacrificing love for others? God himself came down and washed men’s feet, but I can’t bring myself to drive a poor brother to Walmart? Or, more importantly, to pray with him and share the gospel? These moments of weakness and hypocrisy, when I fail to live out my beliefs, can challenge my faith more than anything else.

But these are also the situations where I can run to Christ for mercy and grace. To repent for my hardened heart and to realize my total dependence on him. Sanctification is a process, and I know I can do better, but only through the power of his Spirit.

I have faith that God will continue working in me, strengthening and equipping me for these situations. However, I also resolved to be more prepared in the future. The Spirit put it on my heart that I should have some Bibles or gospel tracts to share in addition to money. It wouldn’t be much, but it would be better than what I did in this story when I was unprepared.

At the very least, I refuse to do what my old self would have done: ignore him and justify it by saying, “he’s probably a junkie anyway.” The scripture says, “Treat others as you want to be treated,” not “treat others as you want to be treated, unless they look sketchy.” The truth is that he very well could take my money and use it for drugs. I don’t know, but if I’m going to err, I will err on the side of generosity and love because I follow a God who came to earth and served sinners. If he can serve them, so can I.