Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Humble Yourselves

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

I remember a time sitting at the welfare office in Texas with hundreds of other folk in need of the same thing we needed, assistance. Things had just gotten that bad we had to resort to help from the state. In Texas you sit in the office for hours upon hours awaiting your number to be picked. If you arrived at 7 a.m when the doors open, standing in line outside in the cold, you might be lucky enough to get a number that would only leave you in the office for two hours instead of four, but if you arrived late, you were definitely going to be there until five.

Short staffed, enormous need, and a bad system left many sitting there grumbling, but many, just patiently waiting their turn. This system was for ANYTHING you needed, even if you just went to ask a question of things you needed to bring with you, you waited! One day after sitting there for an hour, a young couple came in with a baby. They didn’t look like they belonged there any more than we did. They looked at their number and after an hour I finally asked, “What number do you have?” Well the man said a number, and I KNEW it was going to be a long day for them. I handed him my number, he looked amazed.

“But it’s almost your turn.” he said. I looked at him, “God bless you.” His wife came back in, she was making a call telling her mother, I guess, that she’d be there all day. Her number was next, she looked amazed too. Her husband pointed at us. “Thank you,” she said, “Thank you so much.”

They just moved from Oklahoma, he had lost his job, and they had never been in this situation in their lives. He was telling us his story as his wife went to the counter to ask a question. She came back and they thanked us again and again. I sat there another hour but to see the smiles on all three of their faces was well worth it!

I had done that one other time to a pregnant girl who was there alone, and looked like she was going to give birth, right then and there. She was nine months and didn’t need to wait for four hours so I handed her my number.

It was a humbling experience sitting in that office and I thought of all the people who condemn and put down welfare recipients. “Nobody pays for my food,” they taunt, “Get a job!” they scream, but I assure you, if those same people lost their jobs, had no means for food, and family wasn’t forthcoming in the ‘help’ department, I can guarantee you, they would HUMBLE themselves, get into that office, and have a means for feeding their family!

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a savings. Not everyone has the ability to help themselves, and not everyone can rely on so called ‘friends’ because they will be the first to say, “I really don’t have it this week.” This circumstance is merely a stepping stone for most people, people who have worked all their lives, paid their taxes and have fallen on hard times. You judge them because of your ignorance. Have you ever been in a welfare office to be able to actually give a proper judgment? “I wouldn’t be caught dead there!” you say, then YOU have NO RIGHT TO JUDGE!

Humbling yourselves is what God wants us to do, maybe so all the taunters can see how ‘non Christian’ they have become? Maybe God just wants you to see His handiwork at work. Not everyone in those offices are drug dealing, boozers, or multiple time pregnant women, sucking the system for all it’s worth; many are there because of NEED. They NEED food, they NEED shelter! THEY NEED COMPASSION!!! And all you people on the outside looking in are just that, looking from your glass houses. Judge not...lest YOU be judged.

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.


Donna Sundblad said...

That is such a touching example of real life thinking of others before yourself, and giving to the least of these. Thanks for taking the time to share.

joni said...

Thank YOU for taking the time to read. :)
I think it's these humbling experiences that shape who we become in life. :)

Deborah said...

Joni, I gotta tell ya, I completely understand where you're coming from. Thankfully, I've never had to use the state for help, but I know several families that have.
We met a lady and her two small children at church years ago. Turns out she was homeless and she was also a meth user. But her two children were her life. She needed a place to stay and so, we took her in, only because of her children. They became family for us. They lived with us for 9 months. Years later, after she'd gotten back on her feet and got into her own home, her by then teen-age daughter (15) was murdered. We were devastated! We've stayed in touch all these years, cuz that's what true family does. :)
Just wanted to share a bit of my history with you...:)

joni said...

Thanks for sharing Deb. It is kind of nice to see I've surrounded myself with true children of God.

Great story there! Sad too, but great nonetheless.