Last Sunday, I was driving down the road with my wife and kids in the truck. In the back of the pickup (a common way to transport people here), I had two teenage girls who I was taking home.
As we rounded a corner, a guy flagged me down for a ride. Wanting to be a nice guy, I stopped the truck.
Immediately, the guy grabbed a kid and ran and jumped in the back of the truck.
I noticed that the boy was not happy about coming with the man, so I stepped out of the truck and asked, "Is that your son?"
He said, “Yes”, and motioned for me to get moving. Within a few moments, several folks came out of their homes shouting at either me or the man about something. (I couldn’t understand what they were saying.)
I had obviously just inserted myself into the midst of some type of domestic situation that was about to turn violent. The man was yelling and telling me to forget it and go. The others were yelling something. One of the girls in the back of the truck was clearly uncomfortable.
I tried to go and talk to the others about the situation, but no one would explain it to me. (They see that as a sign of respect to someone visiting the country that they won’t involve you in their personal situations). Eventually, the wife (I assume) motioned for me to go.
A lot of thanks I get for trying to help someone out. Grrrr.
Today, I zoomed past someone looking for a ride. Why? Because I was ‘burned’ last time I tried to help someone out.
That’s a great game plan, eh? Since it didn’t work out well for me to help someone one time, I shouldn’t help anyone again.
It reminds me of my small business lending program. I lent money to about 20-25 individuals. Less than five paid me back. Not one has an ongoing business.
One church leader and I even have a very strained relationship because of the loan program.
He wanted a much bigger loan than my max. I told him to prove it to me with less, and I would consider increasing it. He showed me his business plans and everything, but I was firm on the limit I had set.
Fast forward a few months, and his chicken business failed.
I think he felt embarrassed and ashamed. After my last break, I went to visit him, and he literally ignored me the whole time. When I started asking questions about him, others told me it had to do with the small business program.
Once again, I got burned trying to help someone. Actually, I tried to help a lot of of people, and I didn’t see any fruit come of it.
It’s easy to get bitter about giving and helping. Too easy.
The problem is that we can’t help in a risk free environment. We can’t give in a risk free environment.
Giving and helping involves risk – and a lot of failures. We must trust that God will find a way to use it for his glory. Eventually, the right person will be helped in the right way, and we’ll clearly see God’s plan.