Just for one

You’ve seen him before – flimsy cardboard sign, letters scrawled in black marker saying, “Out of work. No home. Need money.”

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And every time you pass him, your eyes drop to the floor of your car. You pretend he’s not there, fumbling with the radio dial and checking to see if you have any text messages to respond to while you’re stopped at the intersection.

Because looking him in the eye would mean that you’ve acknowledged him, that you’re aware of his circumstances. You think that by choosing not to hand a few dollars out the window, you’re saying, “I don’t care.” And truth be told, maybe you don’t want to care.

But what if you felt a pang in your heart telling you that this time you needed to do something – the swirling in your stomach telling you that this time is different. Maybe it’s just saying “hello,” maybe it’s giving him the sack lunch you intended to eat that day at work, or perhaps it’s pulling your car to the side of the road, stepping out into the rain and asking him how you can help.

I know he is just one person – one person out of the hundreds you may see in any given day, but what if your purpose was to help just that one? Would you do it?

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Strip away the utilitarian philosophy where the great good becomes the great “yes.” I want to know if you think one life is worth the work.

Let’s say you decide “yes,” it is worth it. What if we took it a step further. What if you would never know if that man you chose to reach out to was changed, moved, saved? No evidence. No certainty to make you feel like you did a job well done. You would  have to trust that what you did either planted a seed, watered one that was already there or helped prune away the withering branches somewhere along the growing process.

Would your answer still be “yes”?

Because your act of reaching out to this person isn’t just going to happen. It’s going to be a choice. This one person might not walk into your life with an outstretched hand and open himself to your care. He might be that guy with the sign, standing in the pouring rain and you’re going to have to get out of your comfy car, step into the cold and take hold of his clammy hand with dirt caked under his fingernails.

Would you do it? Would you trust? Would you have faith, even if it was just for one person? Just for one.

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