I realized I had only a five dollar bill.
Just then I bumped – literally – into a young man who said very politely, “Good morning, sir!” I laughed and said, “Good afternoon!” But he didn’t laugh. He said, “I really don’t know what time it is because I am so hungry.”
He went on to say, “Sir, I will not ask you for money. But I am forced to ask you for food.” He had lived his life in institutions for the homeless, lost in the system, and had been released into the streets from a boys’ home paranoid, schizophrenic, and unemployable.
I was struck by his honesty and politeness. This was the first panhandler I had ever met who did not ask for money. I thought for a moment, wishing with all my heart that I could escort him to a Streamside establishment, where he could eat and work and be loved.
But Streamside is not yet a reality. It broke my heart, but cemented the vision God has given me in human terms.
I spotted a lunch cart on the street. You guessed it. God had planned this. A steak and eggs platter cost five dollars! He could not believe his good fortune.
I gave the woman running the cart the five dollars and asked her to give him the food and then walked away so that he could eat in dignity. I looked back a minute later and saw him sitting with head in hands, crying, likely with tears of relief.
What does this have to do with unity?
This was a single person doing just a little act of kindness. Streamside will provide an environment for serving the least of God’s family – who are therefore the most important according to God – anonymously and safely.
Imagine the good we can do as a unified family!