If you have struggled with what your personal ministry should be regarding poverty you encounter, fret no longer. First, I suggest we take a look at how Jesus modeled that interaction. You will not find him solving the global problem, or even suggesting their was a solution, well until the end of times that is. In fact, he said the exact opposite: “The poor will always be with you. He then proceeded to demonstrate to his first followers that when you encounter poverty, you think on your feet and be generous. At least that was my take on the fish and loaves incident. You will often hear me say, “It’s the servants that get to see the cool things in the kingdom.” Just imagine watching food multiply in your hands, before you can give it away to hungry people. It can and does happen. I have had it happen to me multiple times over the last thirty years. At first it is mind boggling, but to be honest I pretty much expect that to happen every time I go out to serve the poor.
The key: don’t be overwhelmed. Remember, right before Jesus was about to deliver his most important message, the disciples nearly ran in panic as they saw the hungry crowd bearing down on them. Imagine the incredulity they felt when he calmly commanded, “Then feed them.”
Don’t be paralyzed by fear. Poverty is actually a big and small problem. If you don’t believe me, listen to the wisdom of Mother Teresa: “If you can’t feed 100, just feed 1.”
Over the last thirty years, I have been the part of countless outreach endeavors, big and small. The most important thing I learned, is that readiness is all. Taking to heart to what both Timothy and James has taught us: “always be ready to serve others with ridiculous generosity.”
That’s where the idea for Kindness Bags came in. I am a long time season ticket holder for the Cincinnati Reds. When I was a younger man, I would often get frustrated with the gauntlet of panhandlers you would encounter just going to the stadium. Lined up from the exit ramp, to the streets around the stadium, and the walkway to the promenade it would not be unusual to be approached by five or six people looking for money from fans.
My heart could harden instantly on a Saturday afternoon heading to a game, even after spending the morning serving the poor! Let’s face it I’m a rotten hypocrite. I got a little better over time, but I still am an inconsistent servant.
One major breakthrough for me was the Kindness Bag. I did not come up with the idea. It’s really been around since the Good Samaritan. I have just tweaked it a bit over the years.
That is the beauty of this Kwik Kindness. You can play and be creative. The most important thing is to do it, not think too much about it. It’s really simple. Pretend like you are about to pack your kid’s lunch, only in the same amount of space, you need to pack enough stuff, just in case they have to sleep outside tonight after school. Now make about six of these, taking care to not to put anything perishable in them. Put them in a small crate in your car and ALWAYS HAVE THEM ON HAND THERE BEFORE LEAVING HOME.
Now you have kindness ready to happen, no matter where you go.