One evening I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to finish work.
Coming my way from across the parking lot, was what society would consider a bum. From the looks of him he had no car, no home, no clean clothes and no money. There are times when you feel generous, but there are times that you just don't want to be bothered. This was one of the don't-want-to-be-bothered times!
"Hope he doesn't ask me for money," I thought.
He didn't. He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop and he didn't look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus.
After a few minutes he spoke. "That's a very nice car," he said. He was ragged, but had an air of dignity around him.
I said "Thanks," and continued wiping off my car.
He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never came. As the silence between us widened, something inside said, "Ask him if he needs any help." I was sure that he would say yes, but I held true to the inner voice.
"Do you need any help?" I asked.
He answered in three simple, but profound, words that I shall never forget. We often look for wisdom in great accomplishments. I expect it from those of higher learning and accomplishments. I expected nothing here but an outstretched grimy hand.
Then, he spoke three words that shook me. "Don't we all?" he said.
I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus fare but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day.
Those three little words still ring true. No matter how much you have, no matter how much you have accomplished, we all need help.
No matter how little you have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or a place to sleep, you can GIVE help. Even if it's just a compliment, you can give that!
You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all, yet in actuality they need you to give them what they don't have – a different perspective on life, a glimpse of something beautiful, a respite from daily chaos – that only you, through a torn world can see.
Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets. Maybe he was more than that. Maybe he was sent by a power that is great and wise to minister to a soul too comfortable in himself.
Maybe someone looked down, called an angel, dressed him like a bum, and then said, "Go minister to that man cleaning the car; that man needs help."
Don't we all?