Purchasing Power

On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I generally do a 22-mile loop on my bicycle.  Just beyond the Tucson Mall on the south bike path as I approach the Rillito Race Track, I frequently encounter a contingent of homeless folks.  It may only be one person, but there may be two or three gathered together.  I always wave and say ‘Hi.’ And they always respond cheerfully.

Last week, as I approached the place, the statement from the Letter of James rolled over and over in my head,

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?

James 2:15 and 16

GodI rarely carry cash, but as I passed by and waved, and the lone person, chilly in the early morning air waved back and hailed, “Have a good day, sir,” I pulled over and took count.  All I had in my wallet was two bucks.  I turned around, went back and gave it to him.  “Maybe this can help your day go better,” was all I said.

“Bless you, sir,” he responded and I continued on my way.

On what will he use those two bucks?  I don’t know.  I hope he puts it to good use, but that is for him, not me to judge.

I thought about the encounter for the hour or so that it took me to ride back home.  I gave that chap everything I had in my wallet at that moment in time.  I know he appreciated it.

As I rode home, I considered the things on which I spend money.  Frankly, most are non-discretionary items like groceries, utility bills and other financial obligations like mortgage, insurance etc.  I can’t escape or turn my back on those obligations.  What about the other things, the discretionary items I might consider?

Here is what I decided.  Every time I consider making a discretionary expense, I will weight it against this thought:  What difference will it make in my life?  If it will not make me a better person, and will not enhance the lives of those around me, then I can conclude I don’t need it.

Give that a thought the next time you consider a discretionary purchase:

What difference will it make in my life and the lives of those around me?

If you come up with a ‘positive,’ then do it.  If you don’t come up with a positive ….

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