The more we talked, the more I heard her fears of these "type" of people rubbing off on her family. There was a strong desire for a healthy distance to be maintained. In all the years of giving, they had never made face-to-face contact.
I almost pictured “drive-by donations” taking place. Where they open the sliding van door while still moving, and thrust the bag of goods onto the porch and then screech away on two wheels while saying a quick prayer. Who knows, maybe they even wore black stocking masks.
I understand it though. It’s risky loving the unlovely. You could be misunderstood by others when you get too close to the unlovely. You just might be accused of being someone you’re not. Not to mention the things you and your children could be exposed to.
But it’s what Jesus did. Think about Jesus and his reputation for a second. He hung out with prostitutes, cheaters, and gamblers. He went to parties with the ungodly, on their turf. Jesus did not sit around and debate the distinctives of faith all day long with the disciples, nor did He pray for the least and lost all day long. He got in the middle of them and got to know them; He loved them, and He taught them truth. I don’t picture Him loving and giving at an arm's length away.
I love this Christian woman that does drive-by donations because she has encouraged her family to think of someone besides themselves, and I think there is a place for anonymous giving. She and her family help greatly by assiting those in need.
But I wonder how it might make a difference if they walked up to that apartment doorstep and introduced themselves. Not for recognition but so a “next step” could be made. Maybe the next step is giving a bag of clothes and talking for a while. . . getting to know a tiny bit of the heart behind the name on the “needy list”.
And what if, over time, this family actually sat at their dinner table one night. Imagine what God might do through an invitation like that. We only have a little bit of time on this earth to point people to Jesus Christ. Thank God someone reached out to us in the midst of our junk.
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*Photo credit for girl with clay heart:Gabriela Camerotti.Fliker, Creative Commons.