This weekend I'm riding solo as my hubby is out of town at one of his internet friend's wedding. (I know, it sounds weird. But if you know Greg - it's not).
It was a perfect day to go for a run, and since it's the weekend I decided to do a long run. Instead of running in my neighborhood I drove down to HEB so I could park and run the bike path.
I noticed there was quite a crowd; people were everywhere. Then I remembered the Woodlands Ironman Triathlon was today. I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to run the path, but it was open. They closed part of the actual street for the race.
So I did my 6-7 mile run (not that long considering I'm doing a marathon this year, but I'm working on it!) and when I came back I saw that the first few athletes were coming in to the bike dismount so even though I was pretty tired, I decided to watch for a few minutes.
There was a big crowd, probably at least a few hundred people by where I was. So I find a spot to watch, and I notice this lady in front of me is selling bottled water with homemade labels on it. I heard a couple people ask what she was selling it for, and she explained that it was her son's ministry called More Than Sports. It was a Christian organization, and they were supporting sex trafficking ministries. She didn't mention a specific sex trafficking ministry (International Justice Mission is the only one I know off the top of my head).
I watched her sell a couple. And I thought it was weird that her son wasn't with her since it was for his organization, but maybe he was working a different part of the crowd. I don't know. Anyways, she looked back at me a couple times. I had just gotten back from a run, and a bottle of water would have been nice. I had one in my car, but like I said I wanted to watch the race for a few minutes.
I think she was going to ask me if I wanted to buy one, but then she realized I probably didn't have money on me because I was just in a tank top and running shorts (I didn't). Then I think maybe she thought about just giving me one, but then decided not to because if other people saw me getting one for free, they would want one for free too.
I couldn't help thinking that she's doing all these great things for the Christian ministries she's involved in (or her son is) but she's not meeting a need that was literally right in front of her (or behind her).
I don't want to give the wrong impression. I wasn't dying. I had caught my breath by the time I got to the race checkpoint, and I wasn't on the ground or anything. But I was pretty much dripping sweat at that point (it's about 90 degrees, and I had just run almost 7 miles). And, my face was beet red. I know this because I looked at it in the mirror when I got back to my car.
If she had offered me one (for free) I don't know if I would've taken it. I probably would've said "no that's ok, I don't have any cash." Maybe if she had insisted I would have taken one.
Maybe it's dumb, but I think if it were me and I had extra waters whether I was selling them or had a cooler of them for me and friends, or whatever - if I saw someone just standing around who clearly looked like they needed a water, I think I would have offered.
I don't want to dismiss the importance of supporting formal ministries. Many of them do great things, and they need money to do it. I'm not out there fundraising for any of these ministries, and this woman was. But I also think it's important to not ignore the needs right in front of us either. The smallest thing can make someone's day, and that can be ministry right there.