Note: This post comes from a cross-cultural worker in East Asia.
It was a crisp, bright morning as I rode my bike to language class. About a block away from the school, I noticed a man sitting on the sidewalk begging for money. I immediately felt compelled to talk with him, but I had no time to do so as class was about to start. However, the next morning after class, I saw him sitting in the exact same spot as before. I felt compelled to talk with him again, and this time I had no excuse not to, but I rode my bike right past him and continued riding anyway.
Meanwhile, my spirit, unsettled within me, knew God was speaking to me to talk with this man, but I was afraid—afraid that I wouldn’t be able to successfully communicate with him, afraid that this interaction could potentially interrupt my day, afraid of what other people might think of me. Nonetheless, I turned around and after five minutes of silent prayer, I worked up enough courage to ask if I could sit with him. This led to us casually talking for about a half an hour.
Then I asked him if I could treat him to lunch. He agreed, but then he asked me something I will never forget: “Won’t this cause you to lose face?”…..