Tuesday, March 21, 2017
When I was a boy walking the streets of downtown Waycross, Ga. on Saturday morning selling boiled peanuts for a dime a bag, I could always count on seeing one man every week on a particular corner. Actually, I heard him before I saw him. He would sit on a window ledge playing his guitar and singing some gospel song. Attached to the fret board of his guitar was a tin cup. Some of the people who passed his place would drop coins in the cup, but he never saw them. His unseeing eyes were hidden behind dark glasses, but at the sound of every coin hitting the cup he would nod his head as a way of saying thanks.
His kind are long gone. I cannot remember the last guitar man I saw. What I do see is a new breed of folks at the traffic intersections where expressway ramps throw people onto the regular thoroughfares. They carry no guitar. They all seem to see. They carry cardboard signs asking for help as they walk up and down the ramp flashing their sign at people who are waiting for the light to turn green. As each flood of cars moves through the green light, he moves back to the point of the intersection and waits for the red light to come so he can start his journey again.
Of course, some might say the man with dark glasses could likely see and the man with sign had a get-a-way car parked nearby to take him to his apartment. I don't know. I just know they are still out there. Whether I am seeing the poor or not, what I do see for sure is a sign that declares there are people around me who do not have near what I have. The street panhandlers may make me uncomfortable and I may not know exactly what to do, but ignoring them or those they bring into view is not an option if I am to follow Christ. The community created by faithfulness to God has always provided care for the poor. The care offered by the community of the faithful is offered by individual believers like you and me. Maybe we have allowed our discomfort to delay us long enough.