But this was just a notion I had in my head, just a political thought. The poor I had in mind were not the ones sitting on the roadsides with placards beside them with a long medical history written on them, hoping to get money off the public. The poor to me were not beggars, those are just lazy people looking for an excuse to not have to work. The poor is that mother of a two year old child from the slum trekking to Nairobi’s CBD every day to sell sweets and cigarettes only for city council officers to topple her carton-made stand, and scatter all her stuff on the road. The poor is that family of orphans who have to work odd jobs to support each other.. those are the poor! I have always had the heart to give but I either thought of it as something to be done in future (when I’ll have something significant to give) or, whenever confronted with an opportunity, thought that the person(s) in question did not deserve it.
I walked by a blind beggar not so long ago, stretching out his hand, holding a tin, singing a gospel song, praising God. I remember thinking ‘if you truly believe in your God then why are you begging amongst men, beg your God and He’ll provide.’ I never gave a single cent to a beggar because I never believed in handouts- free things. When approached by those ‘
Then God spoke to me. Yes, God. He spoke to me. He said ‘Wyndago, ye my child thou need to learneth something’. Alright I did not exactly hear a voice speak but look, I had a sudden change of heart and a new attitude towards beggars was implanted in me in a split second (snap!). I strongly perceive it to be God speaking to me. It happened recently when I had just said another ‘no’ to a beggar. I felt compassion and all the times I turned my back on a beggar flashed before my eyes… and I was sorry. Then I felt the need to give. I woke up one morning and decided to pursue any beggar to not only give him/her money but to buy them food, and shake his hand, and wish him a good day. I had only fifty shillings with me so I was planning for just one beggar. I did not find any beggar around my neighborhood that day.
Yesterday, a friend of mine and I were approached by a street child, she carried a baby on her back and she asked us for money. I had no cash but my friend without hesitation stopped to look for loose change in her purse, I felt so ashamed that my friend wouldn’t even hesitate when I can’t remember the last time I gave to a beggar probably because I had never. Meanwhile I engaged the street girl in a friendly small talk. Asking her if she took anything for breakfast, she stopped to think but eventually said “tulikula mandazi”. I was impressed that she told the truth! She had paused to think whether or not to lie, it was about noon and she must have been tempted to lie to make us sympathize with her to lead us (my friend) to give her more money. Then she gave me a look mixed with both surprise and appreciation. I did not give the kid money, but I gave her something.
It feels good to care about people who other people care less about. There is so much joy in giving to the needy! Moral of the story; when you give, give with your whole heart and not just to get rid of loose change that make noise in your pocket. Give with compassion. Do it for the joy of it, it doesn’t matter whether or not they deserve it, appreciate it or pretend to be needy. Just do your part and always give! give! give! Even when you don’t have money, stop and show them that you care. That is our duty as God’s people, not something we do when we please.