Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Chance Encounter?

(Photo by Hazel King)
She was walking down the sidewalk as I crossed from the other side of the street. Tall and slim with her dark hair in corn rows, she glanced my way and slowed her stride. As I drew closer, she said, “Ma’am, can I speak to you?” She’s going to ask me for money, I thought, and she did. “Could you spare fifty cents?”

My answer was to ask how just fifty cents could help her. She replied that she asked only for fifty cents because most people weren’t willing to give much, if anything at all. She then told me her story about not being able to get a job and her health problems. She volunteered that she did not use drugs or alcohol and promised me that she would not use any money I gave her for that purpose.

Was her story true? I have no idea. Did I give her money? Yes. I had only a few dollars in my purse at the time, barely enough for a loaf of bread, but I gave it to her in the name of Jesus. I would rather be conned out of a few dollars than to turn away someone in need if I have the means to help even a little. It was not my responsibility to judge her, nor am I accountable if she bought alcohol or drugs with the money I and others gave her. I am responsible only for what I do. She thanked me with a hug and said, “When you go to church, will you please pray for me? Pray for Desiree.”

It was only later it occurred to me that this encounter with Desiree happened the same day The Christmas Guest devotion was published on this website. Isn’t it just like God to see if we really mean what we say? If this was a test, I hope I passed because I felt the love and compassion of Christ himself flow from me to this woman, my own “Christmas guest.” Will you, too, please pray for Desiree?

“… Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. ...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” (Matthew 25:40, 45, KJV)

by Hazel King
© 2008


  1. My normally A.D.D. brain can't usually get through more than one paragraph, but Hazel, you caught my attention with this one. I know you asked her sweetly how the 50cents could help. Surprising just how easy it is to pray for someone and we don't always do it. And equally surprising just how easy it is to put 75cents into a soda machine - but not into the hands of a Desiree. Blessings on both of you.

  2. Thanks for your comments. My reason for asking Desiree how the 50 cents could help her was to engage her in conversation rather than just to hand over a few bucks. And I knew just fifty cents is next to worthless in terms of what it can buy. Thanks again for your interest and your prayers.