About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. Dear Miss Robin,

    Thank you for sharing such and encouraging post! I think we all get hesitant at times, but that it just the world trying to “get us.” Yesterday I made some cookies for the widow I take home from dialysis and there were extras so I brought them into the center where I pick her up. At first they were hesitant too; but, they were very polite and thankful as I left. Sometimes the world doesn’t know how to react to us and we have to remember that it is all for God. We can’t let the fear of judgement (or someone not liking your cookies…) stop you from doing something that’s laid on your heart… such and inspiring post. I like the idea of “entertaining an angel unaware.” Thank you so much for sharing and I pray you have a blessed day!

    This side of Heaven,
    Summer Rae

    • What a lovely gesture, Summer Rae, cookies! I wonder how many special moments we miss in life when we hesitate to extend love, generosity or thoughtfulness, no matter what shape it takes. I want to ACT on those holy promptings, and the closer I am to the Lord, the more often I bet I’ll have eyes to see….. <3

    • A few weeks ago, I met our four grown daughters for a weekend exploring Chicago for a “girls’ weekend.” The daughter who lives close to the city came prepared with love/care packages that were stuffed in our purses. As we walked from one lovely event to another on the bitterly cold streets, every time we encountered a homeless person, one of the girls stopped, greeted them and handed a packet to them. (Goodies in a zip lock bag — some money, wipes, granola bars, tissues, a Bible verse, etc.). The looks of appreciation and anticipation were just priceless. It’s not all the way to friendship, but it was a proactive way to connect with the love of Christ.

      • Dear Miss Mary,

        That is such a lovely idea! Thank you for sharing your story with me, so inspiring!

        This side of Heaven,
        Summer Rae

  2. Robin,
    I, too, feel conflicted in these situations perhaps because I once got majorly conned by a con artist who was pedaling her story in our area and was being tracked by the police. But, I had the opportunity to pray with her. After I bought her diapers and formulas and other necessities at the local CVS ….I even gave her money for gas… for her supposed get away from an abusive husband, I asked her if I could pray for her, her baby, and their travels to find safe haven. Surprisingly, she said yes. I prayed for protection for her and her baby, and for safe travels, and that she would know that she was God’s beloved and didn’t deserve the battering she had been taking….it made me wonder, like you pondered, whether truly homeless or a con artist, how many people would love for someone to ask them their story and to be prayed over? How many of them are Jesus or angels in disguise seeing if we will love the “least of these”? I will never know, but I guess I’d rather err on the side of heaven. I’m probably way too trusting a soul and they see me coming from a mile away, but when I stand before the throne God will know that I was just trying to be like His Son. Wonderfully thought provoking post Robin and I think we ALL have so many mixed feelings especially when it comes to the safety of our family.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Since my daughter works closely to many people living at or below poverty level, I’ve learned a lot about perspective. We all want to be seen, known, cared for, regardless of address. It IS hard to know the right response, and I guess it’s an area I can pray to be wise, brave, and available as the Lord leads. How special for you to have that chance to pray with your person….no matter her circumstance, that was beautiful.

  3. In this world with so many people who are actually out to con you, it becomes difficult to know whom to help. One time, we were driving into a shopping center and saw this man with a sign that read “Hungry”, so my husband invited him to join us as we went into a McDonald’s across the road from where he stood. He followed us there, but as we stood in line waiting to order, he said, “I can’t do this” and left! So he wasn’t hungry, but just wanting people to hand him money for who-knows-what. Another time, we saw a woman walking in the rain and stopped to offer her a ride. She was trying to get to her mother in a nursing home about 15 miles away. We drove her right up to the nursing home door, and she got out thanking us as she went. As believers, we need to stay on the alert for those who need our help. My husband and I usually ask each other how we feel in our spirits about a person we see panhandling. Sometimes we will stop and give them money, but there are times when both of us know in our spirits that the person is untrue and we drive on. Father protects His children and will guide us by His Holy Spirit if we will only ask.

    • I’ve know instances where people carry “ready-packs” of food and/or gift cards to nearby restaurants. I’ve never taken that step, but it’s a good idea. Follow-through can look a thousand different ways; I guess I’ve landed with seeking God, drawing near to him, and He’ll lead me to the Kingdom works He has waiting. That’s an exciting thought!

  4. I used to struggle with giving to people begging for money because I didn’t know how they’d spend it. After thinking about it for a while, I decided its not up to me how they spend it. I’m responsible for myself and for showing kindness to others. What they do with it is on them. My conscience can be clear knowing I helped. Does that mean I give to every single person? No. I don’t have the money for that. But knowing its not up to me was freeing for me. For a while I kept a small container of snacks from the dollar store to hand out.

    I wish we could hear the thoughts of that man on the elevator!

    • You’re kind of where I am, Sarah. Still, every time I see a person on the street asking, I’m conflicted. I always want to know their story, but I’ve never been bold enough to ask…..

  5. Thank you for sharing this common ‘dilemma’! This encounter brings to mind a haunting (but blessed) experience I had a few years ago… walking through a parking lot toward a restaurant where I was “buying” for all — two women (one who had eight children [all but two lived at home with her husband, a Denny’s cook]; the other woman, my fiance’). A man, with open palm approached from the side asking for help. The one who had “all those children” {she was for all earthly-practical purposes not in a position to help anybody] stopped, searched her purse, and gave an amount of money to him – without hesitation and with a kind word! I pondered later — should I have invited him to join us? This haunts me, and I remember… Just this morning during devotional time, this: “Men are alike in their promises. It is only in their deeds that they differ”. And, the Bible reference… ‘Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?’ (Proverbs 20:6, NIV) This “True Love”, when I submit to God’s Holy Spirit, I must (try as I may)to pass along – just a Jesus did, does, commands… May HE continue to haunt me. Soli Deo Gloria!

  6. We have done most of the above suggestions in various places. Something a pastor once said has stuck with me, so I will share it with you. When & what you give from God’s hand to yours to others, give it freely and let God decide how he wants to use HIS resources.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing Robin! Where I work there are a lot of homeless and thoughts just like yours run through my mind. I pray that we always be generous and kind to those who are in need. We’ve been blessed with so much, aren’t we called to share it? Love and blessings always ❤

  8. All I can say is WOW. How thought provoking. How true that we never know how or when will run into an opportunity from Him.

  9. What a beautiful story and wonderful comments. (in)courage blesses my day, every day.

    A number of years ago I was a newbie attending a small neighborhood Bible Study. We had just started on the book of James. The leader was going to stress servant living.

    I have, for long years spent time with the Lord before leaving my bedroom to begin the day and every so often I would close by asking Him to please allow me to bless someone that day. (He comes up with some of the most amazing ways to do that!) This particular morning I had done that and I was sitting at my desk in a back room away from street noises and had just begun to read when my front doorbell rang. I couldn’t help chuckling at the idea that God was busy early.

    When I came to the front and saw the caller through the glass door I realized this was not a neighbor. The man was very tired. When I greeted him he said, “I am sorry but I need food and water please.” I told him to step around the corner of the house and rest at the table and chairs he would find there. He pointed to the electrical outlet close to the door and asked if he might charge his phone. I agreed and he plugged it in and moved around the patio to the shade.

    I took two bottles of water and an orange out to him and said I would fix some food. I made a hot breakfast and took it out to him. and he thanked me profusely and set to work at it. I looked out the glass door and saw him lay the cloth napkin aside and lean over to his side and pull up his shirttail to wipe his face; I took more water out and he finished his meal and then asked if I might have a plastic jug he could use to get water from my garden hose; his brother had not been able to walk further and was waiting for him in the desert. When I said I would bring water to him, that hose had been in the sun, the water wouldn’t be good to drink, he said quietly, “for two days we have drunk whatever we could find.” I bagged oranges and tubes of Pringles, I hadn’t baked cookies in awhile, and I apologized for the salty food. He said it would be good.

    When he stood he reached for his wallet and I said, “I did not feed you for money, but for the love of Jesus.” He smiled and said, “yes; but you take this please, and when you look at it you please think of one. Mexican. man.” Thanking me again he moved to the side of the house and sat down beside the electricity where his phone was charging.

    I went back to my study and placed that peso in the Book of James as my marker then praised God that my vehicle was parked in the carport between my visitor and my neighbor’s window. When I walked through the house again he was gone.

    That night at the Bible study I told my story of God’s allowing me to bless someone. A young husband, a baby Christian, said in excitement, “Miss Molly I think you’ve entertained an angel unaware!”

  10. I remember the pastor of a church I attended in SoCal saying that it’s not up to us what people do with the money or other things we give them. That’s between them and God. So, give anyway. Two of my favorite parts of His Word are: Proverbs 11:24 “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.” and Luke 6:37-38 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
    I’ve been thinking about the man who wouldn’t go into the McDonald’s with that family. It could’ve been that way, OR he could’ve been just very uncomfortable and embarrassed about not being “like everybody else.” These days, I don’t have that much money, but I try to give food, baby things, hand-knitted hats, scarves and mittens in cold weather, scrip from fast food restaurants or I’ll pick up an extra meal, if I can, and if I’ve seen someone nearby who is looking for help. I, too, wonder if I’ve “entertained angels” as God tells us many of us have and will. How specially He has created us! I need to pray more often that He will open my eyes and heart to all the opportunities around me.

  11. Thank you Robin for your honest sharing. It remained me how we can really teach our children values: by what we do and how we act. And in order to do that well, we as parents, need to follow God’s teaching, translating His Word and examples into our daily lives. Choose to bless and be blessed…how true.

    Hugs
    Annetta

    PS Very timely post – it was World Oral Health Day this week on Match 20. We have something else in common I think… toothbrushes and oral health

  12. Great story and reminder that everyone is stamped with His image and I too don’t know what to do w/ all the needs seated on the streets and corners of our town. I have been praying on it, tho, so this was perfect timing. I did hear someone say that to always look others in the eyes and smile and make them feel seen, whether or not I hand them food or a bill. You’re right that what we give comes from such abundance. Appreciate your thoughtful post!

  13. Powerful post. Our church houses the homeless one night a week. It is always a juggling act to demonstrate compassion and wisdom to not be conned. Never easy.

  14. I’ve had many encounters like this that have brought me to tears. We can’t always know what is real, fake or heavenly, but we can remain faithful. Thanks for sharing your story!

  15. Something to think about. This reminds me of what a person once told me. Regardless of the person’s motives God sees our hearts in giving. What the individual does with your gift of generosity (no matter the amount) is on them.

  16. Robin,

    Thanks for sharing this heart touching story. I get conflicted all the time. Wanting to always do the right thing, but hard to know what that is. Usually I will give a little money, if at all possible. I have a servant’s heart and want to do what is right. There have been times when I drive by and do nothing & wonder if I should have done something. Each day I do my best to extend generosity, kindness and grace to everyone I run into. All I know is God is watching and sees our hearts. He understands our confusion and will forgive us for doing nothing. After all who knows if we are entertaining angels.

    Blessings 🙂

  17. Thanks for this Robin. I think we each individually have to find the answer to what we would do in a similar circumstance, because each circumstance is different. I certainly believe in asking the Lord what He would have me to do in each particular circumstance. Sometimes I’ve bought someone a meal, sometimes I’ve given money to those by the side of the road or street corner. I agree with one of the comments above, that it’s not our job to see they use the money how we think they should, or wonder if they are a con…but just be obedient to what God tells us to do. The details are up to God and the person we have tried to bless.
    Certainly never a dull moment in the life of a Christian! And unbelievers think being a Christian is boring. Ha! 😉

  18. Oh did I need to hear these words!
    I have been miserly and withdrawn to the point of cruelty in one of my relationships lately. My motive is protection, but that is not justification.
    I need to live as an example of God on Earth to the best of my ability, and remember I am always protected by his grace.
    “Isn’t it always right to extend generosity, kindness, grace, and hospitality? Then it’s not about you or the stranger or the circumstance, it’s about a simple, God-glorifying response.” Yes mam. Thank you Robin.