(Zoom in to see the evangelist on the left, and the homeless man on his knees on the right).
You’ve heard the old saw: “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.” This I think is true. I have a problem. Like a substantial majority of folks, I’m fairly glued to my phone, have binge watched Netflix until all hours, and generally fritter away precious time on Twitter and/or Facebook. I find myself to be highly distractable and unfocused. Beyond that, it’s far easier to glide through life as a spectator, rather than as a participant. Case in point: while my wife was out of town, my son and I took three movies. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but it didn’t even dawn on me that perhaps we should at least attempt to visit her aged grandmother at her nursing home until late in the week (we didn’t make it). Oh, we made time to workout, eat out, video game.
But the week by-and-large was fairly self-absorbed. I even made time to hit the bookstore, buying more books than I’ll read in a month.
But compassion, other-awareness? Rather lacking. My life is so busy with work, working out, obligations, that in my downtimes I don’t think about much beyond me. It’s become an ingrained way of life.
A rut I don’t know how to break out of.
Nowhere was this more true than when I observed a street preacher doing his thing, proclaiming the judgment of God upon a sinful society, right across the street from a homeless man begging his daily bread. What I, and everyone else crossing the street, didn’t see was the street preacher put down his sign (“Back the Bible, or back to the jungle”), and go over to help the homeless man. I noticed that not one person, nary a single soul, took a tract from him. Yet what did I do other than observe? I took the time to take a picture, return to my office, get lunch…
When it dawned on me that I hadn’t done anything for, or been Jesus to, the homeless man, upon finally returning I saw he was being loaded into an ambulance. This was a lesson to me. We can have all the right words, speak the Gospel truth, but if that truth isn’t backed up with corresponding actions it makes our witness of bull effect.
There are similar needs around me everyday, and yet it gets harder and harder to lift up my eyes to see, and to open my heart to care.
I wonder: do you find yourself in the same place today?
Make no mistake: the world is watching. Are we part of the problem, or part of the solution?