It's the Compression
Outside of an In & Out Burger he sat, crumpled up in clothes he'd worn too many days, panhandling for change and food. During out dinner, I saw a number of folks drop him some change, give him a cigarette, or in one case a bag full of food. Behind me today, at the coffee shop where I was meeting someone, a new Ferarri pulled in as another wanderer drove by on his bicylce loaded with all his gear. Six figures for a car and penniless side by side. Both of them mysteries. Both of them with full stories to tell. But it does make my brain ache, trying to graps hold of that kind of range.
My prayer is for inner balance and quiet to not take unwarranted shots either direction. To treat the commmunity as precious, but also to speak of God's call for justice and righteousness. I know my wealthy and poor friend are both sinners in need of grace and forgiveness. I get distracted by both ends of the continuum, but also feel called to be pastorally present there. Stretched or compressed?
I recall a wise church financial secretary named Harold Gustafson told me something on his death bed. He said "It's never who you think it is." By that me warned me to never judge or think I knew who was practicing sacrificial stewardship. He also said "I know what's happening in their walk with Jesus before you do. It's reflected in their giving first. If there is unfaithfulness, giving drops off first. If there is revival, giving picks up." Harold was right in that I'll never know anyone's whole steardship story, nor should I. I am not assigned to be the judge-evaluator, but pastor grace-bringer to a hard world. But it's still the compression!