Jacob J. Gamet

Indebted to All By Jacob J. Gamet

Who do you feel that you’re indebted to? Your family? your friends? a complete stranger? To what extent are we obligated to others? Let me re-orient the question: to what extent are others obligated to you?

It’s easy to go about our daily lives considering only ourselves, that is, until the shoe is on the other foot. For instance, consider the homeless man you may walk by every day on your way to work. You clearly see he is in need of something, be it a meal, a pair of shoes, or a few hygiene products. He may not ask you for anything, but the writing is written on his appearance and situation that he’s in need.

Now imagine yourself walking past the homeless man thinking, “He has arms and legs to get a job!” Then one day you’re late to work and make a risky choice to cross a frozen pond. The ice gives way and in a blink you’re drifting under the ice in hypothermic water. The homeless person sees you and you see him. Should he help you or continue on his way? No need to answer.

I remember taking a culinary arts baking course at Lake Washington Technical College and the program facilitator broached the topic of helping people who panhandle in the streets. He said he doesn’t give anyone money because he once gave someone money for food and seen the person come out of the store with alcohol. A fellow culinary student sought clarification, “You wouldn’t help anyone?” “Nope,” he replied. She then explained that she was once homeless with kids and used to panhandle to feed them. The facilitator tried to retract his comment.

His desire to control whether his generosity was received by one sincerely in need prevented him from helping those were actually in need. It would have been better for him to adopt the view that it is better to risk being duped by 10 panhandling scammers than to miss one opportunity to feed a hungry family. Even though we are not gifted with the art of clairvoyance, we do possess the capacity of generosity. Similarly, it is better to release 10 guilty people than to imprison one innocent man.

These situations shine a light into our hearts, who we are and our feelings toward people in general. In our view of others, we’d be wise to consider what our purpose is in relation to those less fortunate, especially since life could have dealt us their hand. You could have just as easily been the homeless person or the panhandler, perhaps far away from home and without family support.

Is our purpose–as the more fortunate–to help the less fortunate? Does their need complement our own need to be benevolent toward our fellow man and woman? Are our blessings better spent on the “needs” of others or on our “needless” pleasures? That depends on who you consider yourself indebted to: yourself or all.

I leave you with this Scripture to ponder:

He [God] causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. If you
love those who love you, what reward will you get? ….
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

–Matthew 5:45-46, 48 (Holy Bible)

Jacob Gamet
DOC #883302

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Categories: Jacob J. Gamet

4 replies »

  1. Kre8tiv-1
    Isn’t it amazing how blessings work? You bless someone and in time you unexpectedly get blessed? I’ve encountered many of these situations. For instance, I remember stopping at a 7/11 convenience store in Eastern Washington to grab a bite to eat and use the outside payphone. I found a wallet with money in it on the payphone and turned it in (w/ all of its contents) to the store attendant. Years later, I forget my wallet (w/ credit cards and money) at an AM/PM gas station in Western Washington and returned the next morning to find it missing. This gas station was on a thoroughfare and I was sure it was stolen. To humor myself I entered the store and asked the attendant if a wallet was turned in. He reached behind his counter and pulled my wallet out and it had all my money and cards were inside!!
    What I realized over time is that our blessings to others are never forgotten by God–not in this life, and I aim to confirm it in the next life as well. Think about it: what were the chances that the right honest person would find my wallet and not take anything from it, on a high traffic street?! What I didn’t mention is the street was also recognized as a high drug and prostitution area, which lowered my odds of retrieving my wallet substantially. And both situations involved wallets left on outside payphones at convenience stores. I guess if it’s meant to be, it will be

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  2. More than a poet Jacob, a humanitarian. I too was homeless with my children in 1981, and through the kindness and generosity of others, prevailed until new direction was provided. That is why I had a goal to feed a homeless person everyday…that is until arriving here 18 months ago, and now only being able to feed one per week.
    I had an experience in San Diego a couple of years ago while going into the local grocery store to shop. A young woman was outside panhandling as I went in, and I figured security would send her on her way before I was finished. So I stopped and gave her a $5.00 bill.
    I watched as she immediately ran to the dirtiest guy you can imagine, rejoicing over the gift.

    Two of them I thought, damn, 5 bucks won’t feed them, and followed her, asking for the 5 dollars back. With complete and utter disappointment, she sadly returned the 5 dollars to me. Which I replaced with a 10 dollar bill. ‘Here, this might be enough for the two of you to get a meal’ I said as I turned to do my shopping.
    She fell to her knees crying, and I knew my Lord was in her heart.
    Do not take the words of our Lord out of context. While giving that sermon, he starts with verse 44 which sets up our love even for those who do not love us. That we should not just love our family or friends, but all who share this world with us. And pray for those who would use us and persecute us. Referring to the Jews being persecuted by the Romans. However, those peoples tribulations were just beginning to start, as Christians were moving to the top of the list.
    We are at the top of the list again Jacob, stand fast in the light of our Lord, as our tribulations will soon be upon us.
    God Bless you and keep you.

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