Is Money Your Motive?

For the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time reading. Some days I read so much that I don’t think I can consume anymore. When I feel full, I know I need to share what I’ve learned with others so that I can ingest a bit more. As I pored through various articles, books, and statuses this month, I saw so many messages that run counter to my beliefs. A younger Michelle would’ve tuned them out or dismissed their thinking altogether. I’m in a place now that allows me to unpack their thoughts and try to understand their why.

When I see a status that reads Money is the motive, I no longer judge, but I become curious about why money is their motive. Did you grow up poor? Do you just love money, or do you love how it makes you feel when you earn it? I just remember learning about avarice in high school and then seeing that theme play out repeatedly throughout my life.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. ~1 Timothy 6:10

Good grief! The last thing any of us needs is more grief, but even knowing what love of money leads to, many still covet it.  All I want to know is why, and some day I’ll get the answer to all my whys. I had a unique opportunity to ask that question last night, but I didn’t capitalize on it. I’m a little disappointed in myself for that because  now I feel cheated.

As  I was preparing dinner for my husband and me last night, I realized that the pork roast that filled the house with savory memories of home would not be done in time to eat at a decent hour. I was looking forward to that meal, but poor planning led to a night of take out. We both wanted something hearty, and pizza was not an option, so I went to Chipotle. As I neared the door, I saw a young couple with an infant in tow standing in the shadows.  The young man stayed a safe distance from me but respectfully asked if I had any spare change. I’d seen them around before — walking from shopping center to shopping center — always with the baby in tow. He had asked for spare change before about a month ago, and I didn’t have any, but I offered to buy them lunch.  He refused–speaking for both his companion and child. Last night when he asked for spare change, I told him I didn’t have any, but I offered to buy them dinner.  Again he refused. This time I looked at all three of them and asked (with an interrobang), Are you turning down a meal for your entire family‽ He said Well, I saw something on the news about this place. I walked inside shaking my head, wondering why were they asking for spare change in front of a place they weren’t willing dine in if the opportunity presented itself. Why would anybody do that? Perhaps it was poor planning, or maybe money was their motive. I can only assume they needed a place to stay for the night, and there are several cheap motels along that strip.

When I came out, they were gone. I missed my opportunity to find out why they were doing what they were doing. They were young — no more than 18 or 19. I wondered about their families.  Were they far away or right around the corner? What about their Village People? The leader in me wanted to offer them some resources. The teacher in me wanted to ask about school and whether they had finished or not.  The nurturer in me wants to find them today and love on ’em a little. The realist in me knows that they will always refuse my offer to feed them. The servant in me will continue to offer them nourishment, to look them in their eyes, and to motivate them to ask for something other than spare change. Though I know that their immediate needs are met, I have hope that when our paths cross once more, we can start anew, share a meal, and forge a path to sustain them that money cannot buy.

6 Thoughts

  1. I do not like judging, but in these situations I can’t help myself. I wonder what would they use money for, if they refused food. I always try to understand the reasons behind people’s actions but sometimes I fail. This happened to me before and it’s making me really sad. We can’t eat or breath money and sooner or later people must understand that.

    1. My response is very similar, especially when encountering young, able-bodied panhandlers I’ve seen before, and more so when they have small children with them. Other sage teachers taught our classes to not give money, but give them food, clothing, offer to put them up if possible (and especially if not in my home, when I lived alone in the City), to put them to work if possible, to know where the nearest shelter, aid center, etc. is and offer to take them there. I don’t want to say how many times I’ve gone out of my way to help people by the roadside or panhandling in parking lots and had the food (or rocks) thrown at my car as I drove away.

      1. I feel for them and their ways. I do try to empathise with them, but most of the times I can’t. As you said about that young guy with a SUV some of them earn (by panhandling) more than hard working people per month.

    2. One of the network news programs interviewed a man who’d been in a WalMart parking lot for weeks. He lived in his car when he didn’t make enough begging to get a cheap room. The reporter pointed out that he seemed eloquent, able bodied, and inquired why he didn’t simply get a job. At that point, the young man, maybe embarrassed (as he’d been bragging about how much money he made panhandling) climbed into the back of his late model SUV, closed the door and covered himself with a blanket. It was the end of the interview. That was early in the summer and I still pray about the man.

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