I recently conducted a funeral for an old friend. Wanda was a member of my first church. She was in her 90s when she died. One of the stories I heard about was her generosity to people who were in need. She learned that as a little girl. She lived near railroad tracks and often men (always men) would walk off the tracks and up to the back door and ask for food. They were almost always given a sandwich and something to drink. This was not uncommon in those days. There were lots of folks unemployed during the Great Depression who “rode the rails” looking for work and, by necessity, food. People were generally generous to these folks when they came calling. Often there would be a mark put on the property to identify folks who were generous. Some might think that was a sign that the resident was some kind of patsy, but It think it was a sign of respect and honor.
These days, we are a much more skeptical bunch. We are often skeptical of panhandlers. We are far less likely to share what we have with others for a variety of reasons. Who really needs our generosity? Who thanks us for it? Are we being taken advantage of? During the COVID-19 pandemic, many are in need. Folks who would never have thought such a thing would happen to them. If we read the paper each day, we see that the number of people who need financial assistance, food, and emotional support is growing. So, what do we do?
Maybe address this issue the way Jesus did when he had his disciples use five loaves of bread and two pieces of fish jerky to feed over 5,000 people. Magic? Hardly. A better way? You bet. And it was enough. Actually, more than enough. Tune in (is that what we do?) to the JMPC Facebook Live worship service at 9:30, Sunday morning, May 10, 2020 and hear Pastor Jeff talk about it.