It was a brief transaction, simple, I thought, but much bigger than I may have realized.

A glimpse.
A moment.

I was on my way to the grocery store to buy veggies for my wife when a middle aged man approached me.

He wore flip flops and a yellow t-shirt with a hole. He wore worry on his wrinkled brow. And I thought I recognized sadness in his eyes, perhaps more than the common passerby.

“I’m trying to get to Bulacan,” he said in Tagalog. “Do you have 20 Pesos, sir?” But he suddenly changed his bargain, hoping he didn’t set the bar too high: “Even 10 Pesos will do.”

I have recently decided to give a few coins to every beggar that asks it of me, and my decision has made me a busy man.

I opened my wallet and began thumbing through my cash in search of a 20 Peso bill. But I was all out.

“Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you…'”

But Peter was a poor fisherman, and I am blessed beyond my own needs. Generous Within Reach Global donors have been giving to my ministry for many years, so how can I withhold from those in need?

Besides, sometimes I think we use that scripture to get out of giving to those in need. Unfortunate, I know, right?

How about a little shift in perspective.

Maybe we should start saying it in reverse: “What I do have I give you,” then check our pockets and continue, “and I just happen to have some silver and gold on me right now!”

I was out of coins, and I could not find a 20 Peso bill. So I grabbed a 100 Peso bill and handed it to the man in need.

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He was shocked at first. 100 Pesos goes a long way. He could pay for a bus to Bulacan, and pick up a few snacks for his family on the way with cash like that.

To put it in perspective, 100 Pesos is less than $2.50. But the standard of living raises it to roughly the equivalent of $20 Dollars—a decent size amount of money for a man in his situation.

The transaction continued. The bill slowly passed from my fingers to his hand. The lines in his brow softened. Gratitude grew on his face as empathy budded in my heart.

The man bowed his head and began kissing my hand. “Salamat po, sir!” He kissed my hand a few more times as I smiled awkwardly, assuring him that it was alright. I patted him on the back as he walked away.

I stood there watching him blur into the crowd.

Until now I am unsure what kind of effect my simple—even infinitesimal—generosity had on the man in flip flops and tattered t-shirt. Maybe someday I will understand how far into eternity ripples actually stretch.

In the meantime I am thankful that I have a little bit of silver and gold to share.

Want to share some of your silver and gold? Donate to Within Reach Global here.

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
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