To Give or Not To Give

And he answered them,
“Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none,
and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
Luke 3:11

My own response to those who need has changed over the years.  When we didn’t have much and were raising three children, the first question was whether we could feed, house, and care for our children. We were always able to do that, but we didn’t always know that we would be able to do that. After that: would the money I did have to give be used well?  I still ask that of an organization that wants my money. They need to show me that most of my money–almost all of my money–will reach those for whom it is intended.

Here’s what’s changed.  These days when I meet someone begging for help, if I have money in my wallet, I give it to them.  Period.  I used to think that I needed to decide if they would use it well.  I don’t have that kind of power.  I do have the power of two things:  giving and honoring human dignity.  Beyond that, I am not responsible for what becomes of money I freely choose to give.

Two tunics.  Food.  Cash in my wallet.  Share.  Jesus said.

Bob Patrick



You Did It To Me

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, … Matthew 25:31-46

The rest of the story, of course, is that the Son of Man dismisses those on his left because they did none of these things:  feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and welcome the stranger.  He says to them that because they did not do these things to the very least–they also did not do it to him.  He does not know them.

The meaning of a faith filled life, the meaning of the spiritual path, the meaning of salvation is really this:  how do we treat people, especially those in need?  If you insist that the United States is a nation founded on Judeo-Christian teachings, how is it that this one has been so severely ripped from our social and political fabric?

Bob Patrick

Invite the Poor–Get Out of Your Bubble

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
Luke 14:12-14

This an instruction not on dinner parties but on escaping the comfortable bubbles we live in. When someone tells me how bad Muslims, or gays are, I want to know: how many do you know?   When someone complains about illegal immigrants, I want to know: how many illegal immigrants have actually done work for you?

I ask myself these same questions as a way of escaping my little bubbles.  Any fool can be cordial to their own kind, and we don’t need Jesus to be a fool.  So, today, listen to what makes your own heart uncomfortable.  And then, get out of the bubble and get to know some folks.  They need you, too.

Bob Patrick