He Touched My Hands!


The other day as I was leaving the grocery store I passed an older man (60s?) standing outside. He was wearing a sort of string-vest like tee-shirt, shorts, and a navy blue baseball-cap. As I pushed my full trolley passed him he said, “I’m a veteran and I haven’t eaten anything today.” I continued pushing my trolley all the way to my car while thinking, I wonder if he really is a veteran.

I knew I had a five dollar bill in my purse and I’d decided I was going to give it to him. I walked back to the store and handed him the five dollars. He did something that threw me. As my hand was extended toward him, and holding out the bill, he reached out and cupped my hand in both of his. Both of his hands were just about to lock on my wrist. instinctively I pulled my hands away from him and recoiled.

Was he simply trying to show thankfulness in a warm way? You know, like the way when you shake the hands of an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time; you shake with one hand and wrap the other hand over that in a sign of warmth. Was he trying to do that? I don’t know. All I do know is I felt threatened. By what? I don’t know. Germs? Captivity? Demonic oppression? I have no idea!

We Christians are supposed to love the unlovely, the outcast, the downright nasty. But in our own humanity we cannot. Well, I cannot. ┬áSome of us are offended, afraid, or lack the confidence to step-up or step-in. How very sad that with all the amazing things we CAN do we cannot love or minister to the least of these. What does that tell us about ourselves? We are the truly poor! We are so poor in Spirit that we do not have the power to love the needy or the hurting. Oh, we can throw money (from a distance), or donate our outworn clothes, or say a little prayer, but don’t ask us to remove our shoes, roll-up our sleeves and wade-in. It’s just too scary.

That same night hubby invited me to go to Dairy Queen for an ice-cream. We haven’t done that in about a year. As we were getting ready to leave D Q with our cones in hand who should walk in but the man I’d given the five dollars to earlier in the day. I’d figured he would use the five dollars to buy booze, but here he was buying a burger for his dinner. He didn’t notice me. But as he stood at the counter with his back to me I read the band on the back of his baseball-cap: NAVY.

God, I wish I was like Mother Teresa, able to see Jesus in every human being. It would make the unlovely, the outcast, and the needy so much easier to love.

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thestraggletag
    Jun 20, 2012 @ 07:14:10

    It is hard sometimes to know how to react to situations and sometimes it is easier to fear than to hope.


  2. Deanna Schrayer
    Jun 20, 2012 @ 07:15:32

    You’re right Elizabeth, it is so difficult to reach out to others in our world today, with all those warning lights and bells going off in our heads. But how wonderful that you helped this man when God presented you the opportunity, and even better that God then helped ease your mind by showing you the man used what you gave him for a pure purpose, a rare if not non-existant occurence.

    Sometimes I’ll give money to those standing around with signs, as often as I’m able in fact, but when I see someone who appears to be no more than a panhandler (I have an innate sense of judgement which I’m not sure is a good thing or not) I walk away. And then it eats at me all day that I didn’t help, for how could I possibly know the person’s situation?
    I look at it this way – no matter what the person does with what we give them, it’s the fact that we’re thoughtful enough to give that God cares about.
    I know your love will be returned ten-fold!


    • elizabeth
      Jun 20, 2012 @ 08:25:55

      The panhandlers get no love from me either. But some of them could win multiple Academy Awards they’re so good at scamming.

      I’m actually doing a bible study called, AWARE Deanna in which we are learning to be aware of people and the opportunities they present, and of our own reaction or indifference toward them. It’s been a real eye-opener.


  3. Carol Ann Hoel
    Jun 20, 2012 @ 08:56:27

    I think the man’s enthusiastic overture would have startled any woman under the circumstances. His motive, that may have been truly misunderstood, was not evident. I think you showed him God’s love, and God showed you how your simple obedience to your calling to show love blessed that man. Yes, we are incapable of perfect love, but Christ operating through you, shines, Elizabeth…


  4. elizabeth
    Jun 20, 2012 @ 10:15:18

    Thanks Carol Ann, you are really sweet :)


  5. Annie mcdonald
    Jun 21, 2012 @ 01:43:14

    It is difficult to recognise the true needy and unfortunates out there, but did you feel better or worse when you encountered him at DQ. It was a thoughtful act you did as it,s so easy to walk on by.


  6. elizabeth
    Jun 21, 2012 @ 05:51:12

    I hadn’t thought about that Ann, but I guess It did make me feel better that he was getting something to eat. xx


  7. Angela Young
    Jul 05, 2012 @ 13:56:00

    It’s so sad that we’ve become so cynical. I always tell others that it’s not our job to worry about what the person does with the money. It’s our job to give when we see a need or God prompts us. I’m glad you gave him the money – for you, not him. :) Angie


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