Friday, February 20, 2009

What Would You Do?

Starting this week I have added a second job to my weekly routine. Between roughly 5:30 & 6 Sunday-Thursday evenings I can be found making my way about the city amongst a plethora of other drivers who are anxious to get home. Each night this week, while in traffic at West Pennway & Southwest Boulevard, the same homeless man has been standing there with a sign that reads something like "Homeless...Help...Anything" (my memory is a little fuzzy due to an extreme lack of sleep this week).

Each time my heart breaks for this man, though I have no way of knowing who's really to blame for his state. If you know me, you know I've been given a heart for hospitality - more specifically, to practice Kingdom living by helping those in need in very practical ways; in fact, that is why I am doing everything possible to get out of debt as fast as I possibly can - ergo, why I am working 80 hours a week.

Unfortunately, I face myself with a dilemma each time in the American-ness of my ways, or a conflict of interest, if you will: I want to stop and talk to this man (even though I'm scared to) or at least give him money for food (even though he could spend it on drugs, alcohol, or something else stereotypical), but given the fact that I walk 3 football fields' length from my car to my workstation, plus have to stop to get a temporary badge until I'm issued my permanent badge for employee parking, I have to be sure I'm extra early for my shift. As I'm sure you've guessed, I've been choosing the latter, but this has been eating at me.

I keep coming back to the mid-90's mantra of "What Would Jesus Do?". Would he help the homeless man even beyond simply giving a handout and being on his way? Or, would he try and remain a good steward of his time & responsibilities for the sake of later freeing himself up for more Kingdom responsibility?

Reply to this post and tell me: what would you do v. your perception of what Jesus would do?

Friday, February 6, 2009


This morning when I got into work I received a call on my cell phone from a 417 area code. I was intrigued, so I decided to stop what I was doing and take the call from my patient account rep at Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar, MO, whom I spoke with the day before regarding my patient account balance (which will be paid off once I receive my severance check next week). The following is a paraphrase of our conversation:

Me: Hello, this is Tim.

CMH: Hello, this is Renee calling from Patient Accounting at Citizens Memorial. I was calling to let you know that we did get your account balance updated in our system, and we do show a remaining balance of $4,....

Me: Excuse me?! Are ya SURE about that?!

CMH: This is regarding 3 doctors' visits and a hospital visit from 2006.

Me: Right, and I've been making payments on that SINCE 2006! We spoke yesterday and you told me my account balance was under $900. My most recent billing statement does not reflect any $4,000 amount!

CMH: I'd be happy to send you a copy of the bill for those services to 7575 W....

Me: That is my correct address but that is not my correct balance! You must have something crossed in your system. My original bill was over $4,000 for an ER visit in August 2006 but I've been paying on that since 2006!

CMH: Wait a second...who is this?

Me: This is Tim Sowards. We spoke yesterday regarding my account balance.

CMH: Ohhhh yeahhh....hang on a second.

CMH: Ok, I think I put your contact info into the account for another Tim who had these services. I'm showing your balance as $818.66.

Me: Ok...that sounds more correct! I'm sorry if I came across as rude, but you really scared me!

And that, my friends, was today's heart attack. I never thought I could envoke such emotion! Other than that, God is good, and life is slowly getting better.