Help Me to be Thankful

Yesterday Debbie and I stopped for an ice cream cone after running some errands around town.   We decided to sit outside and enjoy the fresh breeze of a late summer day.  We took a few minutes to "people watch" while we enjoyed our cool snack.   All around us people were busy working and shopping.  Some were browsing through books in a nearby bookstore while others worked out at a modern gym.  Across the street ladies shopped for new clothes at a trendy boutique.  Others shopped for art a tiny frame shop.  At a nearby table a group of college students were chatting while eating a late lunch.  Everyone seemed content.  Then we saw him.  An older man patiently sitting alone at a corner table.  He had no food not even a drink.  He sat there nervously watching all of the outdoor diners.   He patiently sat there alone.  Then when the group of college girls finished their lunch they left their half-eaten entrees behind on the table.  He jumped to his feet and sat down.  Quickly devouring every leftover bite.  He searched the cups to see if even a sip remained of their soft drinks.  He finished by eating the picked-over remains of a small side salad.  The frantic speed at which he ate clearly showed the hunger pains he felt in his stomach.  I was humbled as I finished up my unnecessary ice cream cone. 

Living in a developing country we see our share of poverty.  Even some of the children around our church are certainly malnourished.   Not a day goes by when we don't see someone begging on a street corner.  Yet, watching this man was especially eye-opening to me.  I was left pondering how much we waste everyday.  I realized once again that I need to be thankful for every blessing that I have in my life.  Perhaps I have let my heart grow hard to those around me in need. 

Should we help the poor?  Is it our responsibility?  Several verses come to mind:  "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again."  (Proverbs 19:17)  "...It is more blessed to give than to receive."  (Acts 20:35) "For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land."  (Deuteronomy 15:11)  Perhaps most importantly we should remember the words of Christ.  "...Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."  (Mark 12:31) 

Lord help me to be thankful for what I have.  Help me to have wisdom in knowing how to help those in need all around me.