We actually crossed patches. He was driving a white Silverado I’d later find out was borrowed from a friend. My phone rang, he was on his. I didn’t recognize the number and didn’t pick up. As it turns out, it was him.
I’ll call him John. His name was a common one, like John; but it wasn’t.
John was a very fat man. He walked into our church looking for money. Since Promise is a country mile down the road from a large church that’s just off the highway, we don’t get as many random people dropping in, asking for money as an average church.
Our Women’s Bible Study was Meeting that morning. With tears in his eyes John told he needed to get to Indianapolis. The police had called. His daughter had been in a terrible crash. They needed him to formally identify her body.
I didn’t catch the next part. Maybe it was that his credit card wasn’t working at the gas station, or that he’d left his wallet at home. The truth is I wasn’t listening. Something about the story didn’t line up. Actually, a lot of things didn’t line up.
If there really had been a crash like the one he described, it would have hit the papers. There was nothing. But, John was easy to find on facebook. He’d been reposting memes fifteen minutes after he left with their money.
He had a sob story and I made him apologize to the ladies. We agreed he’d volunteer at the church to work off his debt. The only thing he didn’t lie about was not having money. In my head it played out beautifully.
All my life I’ve romanticized stuff. He never volunteered at the church. At first he weaseled out of it. Eventually the time between stays at the men’s shelter passed and he moved. I was mad.
makes no sense in light of this story, and so many like it. At least not at first glance.
My anger motivated me, as it should. Anger after all is fuel for the car, not the driver. I started asking questions about the poor. Reading Toxic Charity by Robert Lipton and When Helping Hurts Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert didn’t just paint a new picture; they used colors I’d never seen before.
I was kind to the poor, and I received wisdom as a reward.
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