With poverty climbing, more people falling under the national poverty level, programs and shelters closing their doors because they cannot meet the demands of the needy, what are we to do with our brothers and sisters who go hungry? Have you ever witnessed the reactions people have towards our homeless? Rude behavior towards them? Have you treated another human being, less fortunate, without respect? Chances are you can answer at least one of these.
The dilemma is not about feeding our homeless, but how we treat our fellow-man. Should we give free handouts? Or is it a greater disservice? While this topic can go round and round, they are still human beings who go hungry. This is definitely a controversial topic and many will turn away.
While the greatest gift we can offer is service, it can turn quickly into a disservice. By providing daily handouts, the homeless never learn to fend for themselves, giving them self-confidence of making it on their own. I am not suggesting we stop helping those in need. Instead we are to feed the hungry, while feeding their soul. It is a greater service to offer emergency nourishment, while giving courage to make it on their own.
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.
Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.
Ani po finds herself in foreign land. Along the main strip, she observes a homeless person along her way. When the homeless person reached to Ani Po, asking for money, she replied, “what is the money for?”
Ani Po: “I cannot give you money, but if you are truly hungry come with me. Will you dine with me?”
Homeless: “Sure but they will not let me in there.”
Ani Po: “What is your name? I am Ani Po.
Homeless: “The name is Matthew.”
Ani Po: “Well Matthew, I have money and if they want my money, they will let us both in.”
Ani Po and Matthew enter the fast food restaurant and they ordered food. Matthew was truly hungry, as he ordered a Big Mac super-sized and an extra Big Mac (ok, you can probably guess where we were). They both sat, enjoying each others company but mainly a hot meal.
Ani Po asked the young man why he was homeless, to which Matthew replied, “I just got out of prison and I am a felon.”
Ani Po: “A felon?! What did you do?”
Matthew: “When I was nineteen, I was busted for strong-armed robbery.”
Ani Po: “What the Hell were you thinking?
Matthew: “I was young and my buddies dared me to hold up a gas station. When I got caught, they were nowhere to be found.”
Ani Po: “So what are you going to do now? You going to live on the street forever?”
Matthew: “Well, I would get a job but who will hire a felon?”
Ani Po: “What do you want to do?”
Matthew: “I want to get into construction.”
Ani Po: “Avoid the commercial companies and the Unions…they will not hire you. Your only bet is to go private. Find someone looking for help and work your ass off, proving yourself to not only the boss but yourself. Learn as much as you can and when you are comfortable enough…get your own crew. I see great things in your future Matthew, but you have a rough road ahead of you.”
Matthew agreed to everything Ani Po stated and further added, “You are right about this path, but when I get my own crew I want to branch out into Architecture. I want to design handicap friendly homes. My Brother was shot when we were younger and he has a hard time in his current home.”
Ani Po: “That is a good plan. Check with your local university. Seeing you do not have any money to your name, there shouldn’t be any problems getting assistance.”
At this time a friend of Matthews enters and sits down next to them. Looking hungry Ani Po hands him his Super-Sized fries, “You hungry too? I shouldn’t eat these fries anyways.”
Ani po gets up and extends his hand to Matthew, “I wish you the very best Matthew and have enjoyed your company today. While today’s meal was free, you may have to work for tomorrow’s. You are at the crossroads of your future…do you stay on the streets or do get to work? I challenge you to follow your dream. Whatever obstacles lay before you, step over them and continue your journey towards your goal. You can have anything, but it may require a bit of work.”
Ani Po turns and walks away.
Matthew watches Ani Po leave. Withe a tear in his eye, whispering…”I will.”
Now that is service. Merely feeding Matthew would have been a great disservice. Not only did Ani Po share a life lesson with Matthew, but she showed Matthew that someone authentically cared about him and gave him hope. Had Ani Po not stopped to eat with Matthew, he would have remained on the street. Instead, Matthew has not just one crew but multiple. Not only does he have his own construction company, but also has an architecture firm.
If we, as a collective whole, repeatedly ignore the less fortunate, how will they ever learn a new reality? “Well I did it, why can’t they?” Maybe their reality was slightly different from yours and they need help seeing clearly. In order to change a broken wheel, it often requires an expert to show the way.
While the pilgrim prides himself filled with change in his pocket, the Warrior prides herself with change in Her heart. Enjoy this next clip on change…
Stepping into the Canvas with change of Heart. Pockets may not jingle jangle like they normally might, but fortune is sure to appear. When we give everything we have, we see how rich we truly are. Keep everything to ourselves, we continue seeking that which is missing. Through service to others, we are serving ourselves. How will you serve today?