I admit, I was not at my best. For one thing, I was not feeling my best. I had a headache and was feeling very tired. Plus I had just had to mail a customs form in so that I could receive a shipment, which I may have to pay to receive. And as a bonus, I had just missed a tram, and the next one wouldn’t be for 15 minutes because of summer hours, and I felt too shaky to make the ten minute walk home. Bottom line: I was not in a good mood.
So I was in this frame of mind when a man walked up to me, asking if I speak English. I could tell from his manner that he was about to hit me up for money.
Usually I keep a coin purse with me, specifically for giving to beggars. Jesus said, “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you,” (Matthew 5:42). I put all my fifty cent coins in it, and I give to whoever asks, trusting that God will sort things out properly if I just do my part. But they have to ask me. If they don’t ask, I don’t give. And when the coins are all gone, then I can honestly say, “I don’t have anything to give you.”
But this particular day, feeling rotten and in a rotten mood, I had left my beggar coin purse at home. Plus, I just wasn’t in a mood to be hit-up for money. So I just brushed the guy off and walked away from the tram stop. I got across the street when the Holy Spirit gently began to deal with me that I hadn’t even heard the man’s request.
So I turned back. I said, “Lord, if You want me to talk to him, then show me where he is,” because beggars on the move have a tendency to vanish quickly.
I did find him close to the tram stop. I said, “I’m not feeling well, but that’s no excuse for the way I treated you. I don’t have any money to give you. But other than money, how can I help you?”
He launched into an appeal for money. I tried another tack: “I have friends who give out free meals at the train station . . .” He cut me off. He wasn’t interested in food. He really and truly only wanted money. Checking with the Lord first, I said, “I really don’t have any money to give you.” And I returned to the tram stop just in time for the next tram.
What was the point of all that, if God didn’t want me to make an exception in his case? I think it was just this: that God wanted me to treat everyone I meet with respect, even if it’s a beggar, and even if I’m feeling rotten. I returned home, went to bed, and slept the rest of the day. God is good, and He expects us to reflect His goodness to others. They might not deserve it, but then neither do we!