That is the question. To give or not to give. Yesterday as I was tooling around town I happened upon a gentleman at a stoplight by a pretty busy area where there are plenty of stores. He had a cardboard sign. The usual plea for money. “Down on my luck. God Bless.” Of course the light turned red and I stopped right next to him and yes, I admit it, I made eye contact. And since I made eye contact I got a bill out of my wallet, rolled down the window and gave the gentleman the money. He said he hoped God blessed me and I told him that he already has and that I hoped that he had a good day. Not enough time in the split second before the light changed and the cars behind would start honking at me to go to get his life story . If I had been on foot I am sure I would have. It is my gift, you know!
But it got me to thinking about how many people do what I do occasionally. I know the skeptics will say he just took that money and spent it on booze or drugs or something else not so great for his body. And then there are those like me who believe that once it is given it is no longer ours to determine how it is used so we give with the faith that it helps this person somehow. I know it is risky to give this way. That is why I prefer to give through my church or through organizations that I know are trustworthy. But there are times when I feel my heart pulled in the other direction and just give as I did yesterday. Our two boys have different ideas on this. One would most likely never ever give to someone on the street and the other routinely empties his change cup in his car and gives it out to a person down on his / her luck.
So where do you weigh in on this? I know I am naive about a lot of things and still continue to try to trust folks at their word and think the best of people. It is just who I am. Even when I have been taken advantage of and lied to I still find it hard not to give folks the benefit of the doubt. And as to the man yesterday—I think it was because he used color in his sign. He had a black cross inside a red heart. My favorite color red —I think that is what pulled me in.