It is amazing how many things that happened on the Appalachian Trail that still affect me. Today is the first day I have woken up not completely worn out. But the main thing that stayed with me was “Trail Magic”. Trail Magic is when random acts of kindness (God) are done by people when you least expect it. The day I was out of water and I came to the bottom of the mountain and there are 5 jugs of water by a tree. Four jugs were empty but one just had enough for me to get a few sips. It would be all I needed till another person and another gave me some water till I got to a stream. God doesn’t always promise an abundance but He does promise enough!!
The time I came off the mountain with another migraine almost stepping on a 7 foot thick black snake. I got to the road and missed the shuttle into town. Then I heard free water and Energy Drinks. I got a drink and they asked if I needed a ride into town!!!! Yes double trail magic or I choose to believe a double portion from God.
The time yet another migraine and I had a signal on top on top of a mountain. I called Julie to see if she could find me a hotel as my head hurt so bad I couldn’t think. She didn’t even have a clue how to find Helen, GA or Dahlonega? I could tell she was upset feeling my pain with the little information I gave her. Then I thought of the man who originally gave me a ride. I called him and in the thousand square miles he takes hikers he was at the EXACT crossing where I would come out in an hour. Another hiker had called him to MY SPOT but then canceled.
So it is no wonder that I got in our green van with close to 200,000 miles on it the other day, the cloth roof caving in and started driving around our town looking for people to take to the grocery store. The van is actually good as it is comfortable. People don’t have to watch themselves if they are dirty. It was raining and I felt the Lord call me to go out. I took Chase with me so the people didn’t think I was some stalker in a raincoatJ Chase asked who we were picking up and I just told Him that God would bring the people Chase. Well it’s easy to drive a car with temperature controls (Yes another AT thought, I can get warm now when I want or stay dry when I want or wash my clothes and they actually get dry with a thing called a dryer.) Then I saw a couple in the rain. They were an Hispanic couple with two kids that had a sign, The last word of the sign I could only read because it said, God. All I had was a twenty and we have a hard time paying rent LAST month. So as I went in to get change I saw that I had two one dollar bills plus the $ 20. The Holy Spirit spoke so loudly not in a mean ways but almost as “Are you kidding”.
No matter who you are the poor need our help. Jesus talked so much about the poor. He hung out with the poor and tried to make sure that the disciples got it. Take care of those with less and they will have an easier time entering the Kingdom of heaven than the rich. Money doesn’t keep us from God but the love of money and the desire NOT TO LOSE IT can cloud our entire way we do life. The entire way we approach God. The ways we ask for help from God. A poor person has nowhere else to go but God. When you and I want to hold on to that which we cannot keep to gain what we cannot lose (Elliott) then the Lord will always be a secondary fixture in our true desire.
The AT stripped so much away from me. But in retrospect the AT helped saved my life. Satan had beaten me down with years of depression and pain to the point of not being able to go on. God led me into the wilderness to be with Him, to Trust Him and to see His miracles, not miracle. In the end He rescued me but not after I saw miracle after miracle after miracle by His hand. He called; I obeyed and went. The Holy Spirit showed me to give the entire 20 dollars all that I had except for the 2 one dollar bills. How many times does someone throw money out the window to a poor person and feel good about it? “Oh they will eventually find it. Plus they should be looking for a job.” How many times do we actually treat those less fortunate so much less fortunate with respect.
WE ARE NO BETTER THAN THE POOR IN GODS EYES – NO BETTER.
In the book Interrupted, Jen Hatmaker says “If we were not too beneath Christ, who died for us while we were still sinners, then how dare we take a superior position over any other human being”.
I stopped the car and spoke to this couple. I asked them where they were from and if they had a ride home. I gave them the 20 dollars but more importantly I spoke to them husband, wife and kids huddled under their mothers arms with dignity as though “That could be me”. If you think that poverty is far from you then you are on a slippery slope. A few wrong decisions and we can all be homeless. You could have all the money in the word then be texting at the wrong tie and BAM. You are done. This man was trying to find a job in construction. I asked him NOT to see if he was looking for a job but to see if I knew of anything that I could help him with.
As I drove away I felt really good not just giving my money (God’s money) but by not condemning. Then Satan wandered into my mind. “Well they have a car. Did they drive this far so their friends could not see what they were doing. Does he have a great job and does this for extra money?” Then God spoke
IT DOESN’T NATTER BRAD. I CALLED YOU TO GO SO GIVE AND HELP THE POOR. IT IS NOT UP TO YOU WHAT THEY DO WITH WHAT YOU GIVE. THAT IS UP TO ME.
Matthew 9:10-13 “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
What if you and I showed mercy to EVERYONE we met. How would not only our lives be different but the world. It starts with one. So today STOP CONDEMING others and GIVE, give then give some more. You can’t keep it. It is all God’s anyway even all your talents. Are you willing to be poured out as an offering for the Lord? Until you do then be very careful as if you are holding on too tight and not GIVING; a great perspective is “That too could be me”.
Seek the lost and poor and then help.