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IMG_1710Twenty quetzales is all it costs. (The quetzal, pronounced kāt-sal, is the national bird and the monetary denomination of Guatemala) That’s the equivalent of $2.63. Not much, about the cost of a biscuit at McDonald’s. With 20 quetzales you can buy a small cup of coffee and 6 large sweet rolls to share with someone else. In my case, it was several homeless men on the streets of Antigua.

It’s not hard to find people in need of help here. The corners and sidewalks are dotted with beggars, some who are just old, others physically maimed by who knows what. While walking around this week, I noticed something that I hadn’t noticed before; the men on the street rarely ask for a handout or money. It’s not true in every case, but in general I found it to be true. If they are hungry, the women and children don’t mind asking, but the men don’t seem to be capable of crossing that line. Pride is just as prevalent among men in Guatemala as it is in the US.

So, therefore, since they wouldn’t ask, I offered. And surprise ……… no one refused ……..

There are so many good verses that I could pin to this story.

Proverbs 22:9
The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.
Isaiah 58:6-7
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

I’m not trying to toot my own horn or to say that my giving away bread on the streets in Guatemala makes me a better person than you. What I am saying is this: Jesus gave us the ability to share, whatever little bit we have. And for many of us, it’s not a huge sacrifice. Maybe the people you need to share with live next door or down the street. Maybe they don’t need the kind of food you eat. Maybe they’re starving for friendship or a kind word of encouragement.

When Jesus said, “I am the bread of life,” he wasn’t talking about physical bread; he was referring to spiritual bread. The bread that has eternal value is that which is given away in sacrificial love. When you take the time to help a neighbor fix a leaky toilet, you’re giving away bread. When you offer to babysit for a stressed out single mother, you just gave away another loaf of bread.

Today I ask you to raise your mugs high and together let’s commit to being more generous, sharing both material gifts and gifts of service.

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com