Everywhere we go in Kolkata, homeless, poverty stricken people live their lives in the street. They sleep, eat, bathe, are born and die on the sidewalks. As we walk, we frequently have to step over sleeping people.
There are always dirty people following us around, begging and begging for money. We met several women carrying small children, who live on the street. Their story is just heartbreaking.
One of the beggars has a name. Sanju Das. Sanju’s children have never known and probably will never know anything but a life on the street. Sanju was literally born on the loud, busy, chaotic sidewalk. Her mom died when Sanju was just nine years old. She had to fend for herself, figuring out ways to make a living… Mostly by begging.
The story of her “husband” was vague, and she wanted to quickly change the subject.
Regardless of who or where he is, she and her four children are living on the street. Two of them were off begging on another street. The younger two were with her on the sidewalk, all their possessions in a small pile up against the curb.
Other than the husband story, she was effusive with details about her life on the street, her daily struggles, and the problems of raising children in that hostile environment.
As I spent time with her there, listening to her story, locals would stop and stare, wondering what in the world this foreigner was doing sitting with a beggar on the sidewalk. There are beggars all up and down every street in this city. Doesn’t he know he can’t solve their problems?
I knew I couldn’t. I knew that I should probably just keep on walking, just like everyone else on the street, ignoring the daily problem that is always so obvious to them that they have all grown calloused to it. There are millions of them. What good can helping his one do?
I wonder if any of these questions went through Jesus’ head that day at the Pool of Bethesda, where “Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches.”
If you read that story, found in John 5, you can’t help but notice that Jesus didn’t solve everyone’s problem. He didn’t heal every disease. Out of that whole crowd he picked… One.. Just one! He could have healed everyone there. He could have healed everyone in the city… But he did the miracle for just one. And that one was healed, and he went and told others that it was Jesus that healed him.
Maybe I didn’t come to India to solve everyone’s problem… But I can be like Jesus and I can do for one.
So, I told her about Jesus, and the difference He has made in my life. I prayed for her and for her children. And I gave her money for food. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to feed them for a while.
Look around yourself today. You may not find yourself in a strange city, but I am certain that God has placed you exactly where you are– in your town, in your job, in your neighborhood. There are spiritual needs all around you right now. You may not be able to meet them all, maybe you are just here to touch one person. One co-worker. One neighbor. Maybe God wants to use you to change one life. Do you know who it is? Maybe today is the day to step toward them and become the blessing in their life that you were uniquely designed to be. Have you picked your one?