Tuesday, September 18, 2012


It appears there is difficulty not just for some, but for all of us. It's one thing to be in need, but it is another to have a need that can not be remedied by a small gift. The fact is that people tire out, and do so quickly. It's not that they have little desire to help, it is that they do not know what to expect when they help. There is a great pay off in making things better, but there is little to keep people motivated when they can't make things better long term.

Imagine, you go to help feed the homeless. You are so moved by those who are gratefully served, and you feel so good, that you think that you will never stop. Fast-forward a week, the people are still grateful, but there is something missing, you don't feel as good as you did. By week four, you begin obligating your self to other tasks important or not, so that you will conveniently be unavailable. What started out as joy has ended up as guilt.

So what are the mechanics of going from the top of the world experience to not wanting to be a part of it? Week one, you see a need, you fill the need and you are very satisfied. Week two, you see that the help that you offered in week one didn't make a lasting change. Week three, you are convinced that you are making no difference at all. Now, while all of this seems like a natural progression; it is in fact, an egocentric progression. The problem is interpreting the world through the big “I.” You see, the first week, you think that everybody is getting the same amazing payoff that you did, but in subsequent weeks, reality takes the wind out of your sails. Look, if you give water to someone who is thirsty, or give food to someone who is hungry: you helped! Let that be enough. You see every week that you served, you helped. Now, the devil will convince you that you did nothing at all, if you let him; but, the fact remains that giving of yourself helps others.

The problem comes when we will only accept a certain outcome. He needed a hundred dollars, I gave him a hundred dollars and he lived happily every after. And if we are honest, that is the only outcome we are prepared to accept. The sad fact of the “American Dream” is that it teaches us to only value what we can buy and sell: that is not true. You can't tell me that there is no value in speaking to someone as a friend, when what they meet day in and day out is a world who treats them like an unwanted stray animal. You see, often times we have gifts that are so much more than money can buy, but we don't give them. Why? They make us wonder, what if were in their shoes? Yet, all the while we see ourselves as the ideal, the person who always helps. We picture the suffering Christ, and visualize ourselves binding his wounds and quenching His thirst. In reality, we see the suffering Christ every day, and we couldn't be more abhorrent of Him, because He is dressed as a homeless man.