The Return Visit
I have always enjoyed reading our Adventist World magazine since its first arrival in our church, and I’m always excited for the coming issues. I am writing in response to Carina Goncalves article “The Return Visit” (June 2007). Being assigned mostly in the field I always encounter poor homeless people and beggars asking for a penny or food. And I share the same reaction as Goncalves in her first encounter with a beggar in her story. Most of, if not all, the time I ignore them and turn my back away from them as if I did not notice them, thinking they are being trafficked or are members of an organized network of a begging syndicate. Normally the question that lingers in my mind is: “Do they really deserve to receive something from me?”
As I finished reading her article, I’ve gotten a new understanding of how to treat these individuals. Our thinking in regard to them must not be limited only by what they are going to do with what we give, but by how they will be blessed if we give. God knows smokers will still smoke, drunkards will still drink, and sinners will still sin, yet He still blesses their lives unsparingly, knowing they may only waste them. He even knows that only a handful will accept His Son, yet He gave Him anyway. We don’t deserve salvation and eternal life, yet God gave it to us abundantly.
We received special favor from God that we don’t deserve, but the poor and the needy deserve simple things that we can give. However, not all people begging are beggars and not all people asking something from us are poor. “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Cor. 6:10). On the contrary, beggars may come to us once in a while—should we miss sharing? Some even say that the way we’re treating those unfortunate and needy ones is the practical measure of true Christianity. When we give, it’s not only the recipient that is blessed. We are also blessed with a special joy that comes to us when we give unconditionally.
The point is that love is still the basis of all our thoughts and actions!