As I’ve mentioned before, you can live out in the middle of nowhere, and people will find your home, especially if you are the pastor and you live next door to the church. One thirty-something gentleman that I remember from our Connecticut days drove up our drive way and knocked at the door one evening. He told what I came to learn was the usual story: in-between jobs, family to feed, anything I can do to help. Not that we had that much cash anyway, but in those pre-ATM days, you couldn’t even go out and easily get some. You usually had to go to the bank and cash a check.
But we didn’t send him home empty-handed. We packed up a few supper leftovers, a few non-perishables in the pantry, and he was thankful. He also came back every few weeks with a similar story, and we sent him home with similar provisions. Some bread, a little tuna, a couple pieces of fruit, whatever. We just did the best we could.
We talked each time and I got to know him a little bit better. On one occasion, I learned that he had found a job, but needed money for gas. In the course of the conversation, I learned that he had driven from another town, about thirty miles away, to come and see me. When I told him that he would have had enough gas to get back and forth to work had he not made the sixty-mile round trip to my house, he didn’t quite understand what I meant.
Even though he did come by the house a few more times, I didn’t help him any more after that. I finally had to tell him not to come back to our house and seek help closer to home. He only came back once more, about a month later. I guess he thought I might have had a change of heart.
I learned that you don’t have to give a lot to help someone. Just what you have. And you don’t have to do it forever. Just for a time. Our efforts sometimes have ends as well as beginnings.