I had just finished leading worship at a large church conference in a major city. My friend and I were on our way back to the hotel when Victor, an African-American man, asked us for money. Neither of us had any, so we told him so. He seemed to understand and said “Well, pray for me.”
And, so, even though we were already past him, we turned around. I asked him his name. And, I asked him what we could pray for him about specifically. He said, “People assume I am on drugs and I am going to spend the money on some addiction. I just want to get my kids off the street. Pray for some prosperity for me.”
Just about this time, a man from the conference came over to Victor and handed him a pack of granola bars. Victor had asked him for money earlier, and rather than give him money, he went to his room and brought back granola bars. He went out of his way. I thought it was pretty kind. (And I have done this same kind of thing before.) The man left, saying, “Those granola bars are from the Lord.” And Victor kind of just nodded. And now, looking back, I am pretty sure he also grimaced a little. Then, I put my hand on his shoulder and prayed for him. And I felt for him and with him. And I asked Jesus to do some things on his behalf.
After we prayed, Victor sincerely said, “Thank you.” And then, in the next breath, he got kind of stirred up…aggravated…he said, “Man, I hate it that people assume. They make so many assumptions. I wasn’t asking for food. That guy brought me granola bars. Look at me, how am I going to eat those?” And, he lifted up his upper lip and showed us that he had no top teeth at all. “How am I gonna eat those? Man…I wish people wouldn’t assume.”
All of us humans make assumptions and judgments about people. We see someone walk by us and we think we know what they think and how they are going to react and so on… Please, Proskuneo friends. Guard yourself against assumptions. Ask more questions. You may be surprised at the answers you get.
Here are some questions to chew on:
What good is it to give someone granola bars if they have no teeth?
What good is it to give people what we think they need without taking the time to find out what they really need?
Is our desire really that our gifts benefit the ones who receive them? Or, if we are honest, is the giving really about us?
[written by Josh Davis]