Chris Dooley

Chris Dooley - Columnist

I just had a really relaxing Sunday.  I was off work and I got to spend some time relaxing and resting up for the new week.  There was plenty of football on TV and I went to church twice, so it was a really good day.

     When I came home from church Sunday night, I could smell the sweet aroma of food as soon as I opened the door.  My Mom had fixed chicken strips, some crispy potato wedges and corn.  It was so good that we couldn't even eat all of it.  I thought to myself as I put my plate in the sink, just how much someone would appreciate what we had thrown away.

     Later on that night, as I lay in bed, my mind recalled a couple of instances of people I've seen the last couple of years on vacation.  In the summer of 2018, we got to go on a tour of NYC.  When we got to Times Square, we paid extra to take a guided trolley tour of the big parts of the city.  We had to meet our tour guide at a building downtown.  As we walked up the steps to go in and meet our guide, my eyes were drawn to a man asleep on the steps of the building.  He was an elderly man, asleep in ragged clothes and he had a newspaper laying on top of him.  

     I couldn't help but think about that man for the rest of the day.  Who was he?  Where was his family?  How bad was his situation in life that the only place he had to lay his head was the steps of that building?  Months later, when winter came here, I'd seen on the news that a big snowstorm had hit up in New York.  My mind immediately thought of that old man, even though it had been months since I'd seen him.  The weather forecasted brutal cold wind chills and snow.  Was he in a shelter somewhere?  Or was he even alive?  I didn't know and that bothered me.

     My mind was also called to when we recently went to Georgia back in September on vacation.  We got to take another bus tour of the city of Savannah that I talked about in a recent article.  But as we walked through one of the parks sightseeing, a man laid on one of the benches in a camouflage coat, sound asleep.  He had long shaggy hair and a huge beard.  Up above his head laid a little box which looked like it had his belongings in it.  There was a little American flag sticking out of the side of the box that blew ever so gently in the wind.  My mind also thought about this man long after we'd walked past him.  Part of me wished that I could have given him part of my check I'd gotten that week at work, just so for that one night only, he might have somewhere soft to lay his head.

     Now people often are leery about helping others, because they might be faking their situation to take advantage of tender hearted people like myself.  But I didn't know either man I'd seen in need, but God does.  God knew the heart that I wanted to give to them from and that made the difference.  I didn't have to know those men to want to help them.  It was just a human being caring about someone in need.  It hurts my heart to see people struggle like that.  I've been blessed and fortunate enough that as long as I've been alive I've never had to go hungry and I've always had a warm bed to sleep in.  But I'm not bragging on the things I have, I'm just counting my blessings.  God has provided every single one of my needs and I'm so thankful for that.  Sure, those people struggling might be drug addicts.  But they could just be someone who's come into a hard time in their life and need someone to care about them.  Most people would say “bums need to get a job like the rest of us” but I wouldn't advise being that person.  Stepping over top of their bodies while they're asleep on the streets doesn't help anyone.  Every Thanksgiving, we argue and fuss over who's going to cook what and we stampede over each other on Black Friday, while someone lays in an alley somewhere covered up in the sales ad.

     People ask “What would Jesus do?”  I guarantee you this, he'd help that man on the steps in New York City.  He'd help that man asleep on the park bench in Savannah, GA.  We could all be one bad decision away from being in that same shape.  Or we could lose our job and everything we had in a string of bad luck.  When we show love to those hurting, we plant a seed in their topsoil that's watered with kindness.  Some of those people are looking for a reason to fight to survive in life.  Some of them are so desperate to feel love in their life that they look for it in so many wrong areas and end up in trouble.  It's our job as believers in Christ to help people hurting, not just here, but everywhere.  If you're a Christian, you have to answer to the questions these people are looking for.  Share with them that Jesus is the answer and he's bigger than any problem they're facing.  You might not be able to solve their problems or fix their life, but Jesus can.  It's your job to tell them!  You're blessed, so be a blessing to someone else!

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