Prior to my conversion, and then for a while after it, I lived in a world of denial. I passed the buck and placed blame anywhere else but with myself. I thought that people's poverty was their own fault. I lived in my own little world with the people I allowed in it, and reasoned that everything beyond this little world didn't matter one iota. Everything beyond my little world couldn't have any effect on me and anything I did in my little world didn't matter to the rest of the world.
At some point, Jesus' call in the Gospels to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, and shelter the homeless began to sink in. (Matthew 25:31-46)
If I kept on living in my little world, working for whatever I needed to consume, I would essentially be ignoring His call. I began to realize that I was in some small way responsible for the world around me too. If I kept everything to myself then my brother or sister on the street would continue to go hungry. If however, I gave them a couple of dollars to buy a coffee and sandwich then perhaps I have done my part to respond to His call. And, I also realized that it was not my place to make any assumptions about how that person would spend the money!
"In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me." Matthew 25:40It is the Lord who speaks to me in the person asking for change. It is the Lord calling to me in the one who needs me to lend a compassionate listening ear, and it is the Lord calling to me to visit him in the nursing homes and hospitals.
How I choose to answer the call is my responsibility and no one else's.