by Eric A. Shelhart
I have a confession to make. I have walked past homeless people on the street and acted like I didn’t see them. I have even lied to a person on the street asking for money, even though I might have had a dollar in my pocket. If we are honest, most of us can probably admit the same. Why are we afraid to reach out and help someone? We pass by because we do not know what the person might do with the money. We don’t want to involve ourselves in something that might cause us trouble.
In Ruth chapter four, Boaz wanted to make sure Ruth was taken care of by bringing in the kinsman-redeemer of her family to take care of her and the land. The kinsman was willing to buy the land, but was fearful to take the full responsibility of taking Ruth as his wife to preserve the family name. So Boaz stepped up and took the responsibility of buying the land from Naomi and taking Ruth as his wife to take care of her and preserve the family name and lineage. Boaz did not have to do this, and he did not know what the future would hold by making this decision, but he did it anyway.
William Penn, founder of what is now Pennsylvania said, “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” When we pass by someone on the street, we get but one opportunity to make a difference in his or her life. It might just be a hot meal, or a kind word, or it could be the chance to change a life forever. In Luke chapter 10 Jesus told a parable about people who walked past someone in need and about one person who lent a helping hand. It was a matter of life and death. Will you pass by someone today who could use a hand?
Eric A. Shelhart is Media Director at Greenford Christian Church in Salem, Ohio. Eric and his wife Rachelle have three sons: Rase 12, Elijah 9, and Ethan 5. Eric is Assistant Editor Sheryl Overstreet’s nephew.