A few years ago I was helping an every Friday evening outreach to homeless men. Using the parking lot of a church, we served warm food and genuine fellowship. I remember one particular evening was bitterly cold and so was I. My thin jacket wasn’t enough for the below freezing temperature. One of the homeless men who had noticed me shivering offered his coat. That was the nearest thing I have experienced to the biblical story of the widow’s mite. I thanked him but refused his offer saying, “I will go home to my wife and a warm house, but you will find a spot under the bridge or in bushes. Keep your coat.” To this day I am in awe by his offer.
The title of this blog comes from a question my wife asked me several weeks ago. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with her story, almost four months in the hospital as of this writing, please read, “She Squeezed My Finger” for more details.) She was in ICU, and at that time we communicated through notes. Earlier today I found the notes where I had written that she is a miracle. In her note she replied, “Can a miracle get a blanket?” Both of us were cold but I couldn’t give her a blanket or my jacket because her temperature was high and they were trying to bring it down by keeping the room cold and keeping her covered by a sheet.
As I reflect on the two stories above I see compassion and need. When these two meet amazing things happen, but wisdom and discernment need to be present. The homeless man’s compassion towards me, although very touching, was not directed toward a legitimate need. My wife’s need was legitimate, but my compassion would have been to her peril. May God give us the wisdom and discernment to be as openly and genuinely compassionate as the homeless man was towards me.
We live in a very divided nation. There will always be issues that will divide us as a nation, as a people, as a church family, and even in our own family. There are many ways chip away at the walls that divided us, but genuine compassion just may be a great place to start.
Elder Source Senior Ministries