Angels in Disguise by Louisa Guzman
I confess I don't always give to those who beg on the train or the street. Often when people walk by asking for money, besides wondering if they really are in need, what goes through my head is "am I my brother's keeper - must I give to everyone that asks?" Having inspected them for signs that they are faking it and deciding not to give, I still tend to feel guilty afterwards (after all, we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, right?). Recently I had a dream in which I moved to a poor neighborhood. I found myself buying extra groceries and secretly leaving them where people in need could find them. In the dream I saw myself freely handing money to indigents on the street. At one point I was sitting on a park bench and a woman asked if I knew of anyone that was renting a room. I replied that I thought I might know someone. Then I tore off a little piece of paper from a notebook, wrote my name and number on it and told her to call me tomorrow and that I would let her know. But she sat down next to me and asked if I would stay and talk so I began telling her how I almost became homeless. When her eyes opened wide as if she couldn't believe what I was saying, I reminded her that it can happen to anyone - even Jesus, as we are told in Matthew 8:20 "foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head". When I finished I took her hand in both my hands, she leaned in and we hugged. I told her it was going to be alright. Then I woke up with Hebrews 13:2 in my head: "don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done so have entertained angels without realizing it".
What if all those people begging on the street and the train were actually angels and all this time I've been neglecting or ignoring them? And even if they weren't angels, didn't Jesus say in John 21:17 "if you love Me feed My sheep"? Even though I don't play the lottery I always wished I could come into lots of money, just so I could anonymously help those in need. I'm not rich, but that doesn't mean I can't start right now with what I do have. Didn't Mary use all her expensive perfume on Jesus' feet? Wasn't that all she had? I'm sure if I give it some thought and prayer I can come up with ways to serve them without breaking the bank. I'm suddenly reminded that we need "not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9). Any small kindness will do, for Proverbs 19:17 says that who ever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done. As long as I take the first step by asking God to open my eyes and heart to these people, Jesus will take care of the rest. Says the Sovereign Lord in Ezekiel 34:15, "I myself will give them a place to lie down in peace". Just as Jesus fed the 4000 from only a few loaves of bread and a few fish, He will multiply whatever you have so that you are able to do so much more with it in order to "feed His sheep".
It isn't difficult to find opportunities to serve the needy. Here in America we may live in the "land of milk and honey" but there is poverty and need in our own back yard. Jesus reminds us in Deuteronomy 15:1, that "there will always be poor people in the land, and He commands you to be evenhanded towards those who are poor and needy in your land". What Jesus is saying is that I dont have to travel far. I don't even have to leave home to help. There is great need right here in Rockaway. Hòw much easier can it get than that? And most importantly, in whatever way I can help those in need, my actions are towards Jesus, for He tells us in Matthew 25:40, "whatever you do for one of the least of these you do for Me". Feed His sheep and be an angel in disguise to the angels in disguise.