My first reaction wasn't very kind.
I was annoyed that no other cars were there to create a buffer between him and me.
I was uncomfortable because I wanted to read his sign but I didn't want to make eye contact with him.
I wasn't sure if my kids would notice him, but I hoped they wouldn't.
Then one of my sons asked, "Mom, why is that man sitting there?"
My oldest child, who I forgot can read, proceeded to interpret the sign for everyone.
"Out of Work. Need gas, and food. Anything helps."
My stomach knotted a little bit as conviction set in, and I could see the wheels turning in their little minds.
"Mom, we should help him. Do we have any food?"
"No, boys, I don't have any food."
"Well, do you have any money?"
My boys were now looking at me expectantly. I sighed inwardly. I was sure the light would turn green any moment and let me off the hook.
It was the longest red light I've ever sat at. I finally realized it wasn't going to turn until I looked in my wallet.
Amazingly, I had six dollars.
The light was still red. No more excuses.
I rolled down the window and said, "Sir? I have some money for you." He had to run across two lanes to get to me, and his fingers were icy cold when he took the money.
I said "God bless you," and he went back to his spot. The light turned green.
As we drove away, my son said happily, "Mom, that was really fun helping the poor."
And that's when I realized, the lesson wasn't for my kids. It was for me.
"Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." Matthew 19:14