"If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
-David Livingstone

June 14, 2011


It was hot and I was tired and it was past time for me to be home. I was making one last quick stop at the market. I turned off the truck engine and turned to open my door when I gasped in surprise to discover somebody standing directly at my opened window. Holding their hand out expectantly. Overcoming my surprise, I smiled politely before climbing out and determinedly turning to get Jabez out of the backseat. She (or he! I never could quite decide...) stood still rooted by my still-open door grasping it and looking at me with expectance. In her eyes there was that glint of something possibly not quite right. I tried to look at her kindly. Ignoring her unspoken plea I turned away and headed down the street.

My conscience bit me. The words, "Give to him that asketh of thee..." flew at me.

In the midst of the market in front of the piles of brightly-hued thread which I had wanted for the weaving project I'm starting I stood confused. Between vivid shades of green, blue, and yellow I could only stand and stare. Convicted. I just refused a plea to help someone who asked me to, and who - regardless of the propriety or utter need of the request - is doubtless much worse off than I am. And here I am thinking to buy something for myself that isn't a complete necessity... I walked away empty-handed. Empty-hearted.

And in my mind rang, "He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly..."

And I wondered....yes, I had been polite, but had I shown her love? Had I shown her Christ? And if I didn't, who will?

"If he asketh of thee your coat give him your cloak also...."

This is not the first time this has hit me. This was three days ago. (And I'm not proud of that...) But this is the first time that my heart has been broken over it.
The need is there with a palpable presence. I encounter it everyday. I struggle with it everyday. There's our sweet students with their basic needs...there's the needy patients...there's the hopeful mothers who want formula for their little ones...there's the dirt-poor villagers who don't have any rice....
Most of the needs are legitimate and some of them are not. And we try to differentiate between the two.
But I always seem to come back in frustration to the same question:
How can I set myself as judge over someone else's circumstances in life?
There's the blindman. He comes regularly. He stumbles up the driveway and sits on our front porch. And is very much like the importunate beggar. He asks for rice, oil, beans, and vegetables. His small daughter is malnutritioned. And we want to help. We do help - within reason. But there's rumors. They say that he sells the rice. They say that we're not the only ones who he receives help from. We try to talk to him about it and he adamantly denies it. But they still insist that he does. And to them we are fools.
Everyone is poor here. No one has life easy. They know work and they know a hand-to-mouth existence. How do you give to one and not to all? They think that we drip money - they assume that of anyone who comes from the US. And they don't realize that, yes, we have more than them. But it also goes for more. We never go hungry, but we don't always have much for ourselves either.

The need is everywhere. Very palpable. And very real. But it's the ones on the streets who are clasping my heart tonight - especially after the experience that I related above.
The old grandmas...the man with a leg missing, scooting down the sidewalk on his backside, his tin can taped to his good leg...freshly scraped-open wounds...the young children...the ones who have a chance at quality life - if only they were given that chance! The young mothers who send there little ones after me as they stand back with their babies in their arms...the ones who approach hesitantly with shame in their eyes...and the ones who act as if the world owes it to them...
It makes me angry. It's degrading. I want more than this for them.
How often I wish that I could sit down beside them and just talk to them...gap the language barrier. Ask them what's really going on in their lives and encourage and challenge them to do what they can for themselves (especially the young ones!)

My actions in my encounter above were directly related to my quick judgement, what the onlookers would think, and my distaste for all things pertaining to asking other people... Yes, I'm ashamed of it. They know who I am here. My mind was on those around and knowing that if they saw me give that they would take me as gullible. As a fool.

If we don't give they may think we are stingy. If we give they will think we are fools.

But wasn't Jesus a "fool"? By the world's standards, yes! He took those in who took advantage of Him. And He knew that they would.
"So He turns to you now and asks the question, are you willing to be used by the Lord?"

I'm praying to be willing to be made a fool for Christ's sake.....

* Really I wrote this more for discussion than anything else. I'd like like to hear your thoughts.

Matthew 25:34-45

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.


  1. I share your thoughts, Maria. Some people can't do much to help themselves, but others would be better off learning how to work than receiving free help. It's such a delicate balance. We need to be Spirit led. . .

    You're in my prayers! Your plate must be overflowing with all your responsibilities right now.

    See you soon!!!


  2. Thanks, Hannah!
    You said what I was trying to say more directly. I can't seem to put this post together very well. I started out trying to say something and ended up saying kind of another (both on my heart), but I think it will stay up anyhow.:)

    Looking forward to see you soon!:)

  3. Thanks for this post :) It was so honest and heart-searching since the question is one we all encounter at some point, though not to the extent you described in your situation...and it's often so difficult to be sure where our obligation lies. I have adopted the philosophy that I would rather be taken advantage of a hundred times over than neglect one in need. After all, who knows when you are actually, by your generosity, entertaining angels unaware?

    Thanks again for sharing!

  4. Maria, just found your blog! What in inspiration... Thanks for what you are doing for the Lord!! "In as much as you've done it unto the least of these..." Keep letting that little light shine!

    A new friend from across the Ocean!

  5. Shepherd's Girl, thanks for commenting. I agree with you!
    Melody, I'm delighted to *meet* you!:)
    I've been enjoying your blog!