Crystal Writes A Blog

A Place to Read What "Crystal-Writes"

Will Work as a Slave for Food

Signs by Flickr User Technosailor CC License = Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike

Will Work for Food signs by Flickr User Aaron Brazell aka Technosailor
Click image to view original & access photo stream in new tab.

While I never held a sign by the side of the road, I have been both homeless and hungry. In those days, it was a treat to find clean food at the top of a McDonald’s trash can, though now the smell of ketchup in the garbage is hard for me to deal with. Maybe it’s old vinegar, or maybe it’s old memories, but I’m thankful I survived those times without becoming a permanent slave to anyone.  And I’ve been homeless more than once, even during a time when I was working and sleeping in my car in the company parking lot. I’m thankful God has delivered me from all those times, but I’m also grateful I went through them.

As this week’s portion comes to an end, we find Israel living in the best part of the land Egypt. Our reading from Genesis 47:11 through Genesis 47:27 finds the family living in Ra’amses as Pharaoh promised. Joseph feeds and cares for his father and brothers and his entire family to the youngest of them.

And then we read why the above is so important. The famine in the land had become so severe that people could not even provide money to purchase food or grain any longer. Joseph tells the people to give their cattle and flocks to Pharaoh in exchange for food. Because they didn’t want to starve, they gave up all their animals. The next year, they found the same issue, only this time the only thing they had left was their land and their own bodies. They promised their land to Pharaoh in exchange for food and for grain to plant on their property to grow more food.

Eventually, Joseph acquired all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. As for people, they were reduced to slaves city by city. The only ones who did not have to sell their land or become slaves were the priests. They had always been provided for by Pharaoh, so it remained that way. But everyone else was so grateful for their lives that they gladly gave their all to Pharaoh and even promised twenty percent of their future prosperity to him forever.

I still hurt for anyone who is hungry and/or cold, and I know that while some things in our economy improve, others get tougher–like needing two forms of identification to get a job. You can lose a lot of financial ground while you’re trying to get the money together to order a birth certificate, wait for its arrival, and then get the money and time to go get an ID (and a social security card if you don’t have one). It’s harder still if you can’t prove an address to put on the ID. Sadly, however, I also know that there are people who make upwards of $3000 per day just by holding one of those signs, and I’ve tried to give food and work to some who have rejected it because they actually only wanted money.

I’d love to hear from readers who have experienced either side of homelessness or hunger. Do you have an inspiring story about someone who climbed up with a little help from strangers? I can tell you some amazing stories of provision from both men and from God, and I’ll be glad to share with anyone who asks. In the meantime, I’m thankful that I am able to sit here in a warm home and write this to you. It’s a huge leap from a patch of grass and using newspapers for blankets.

December 13, 2013 - Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I never knew this about you. Yes, I WOULD like to see you write about the ones who were helped by strangers. This article here is confirmation to me for something I was thinking about when I went to bed last night concerning a loved one. Thank you for sharing! God continue to bless you, Crystal!


    Comment by redeemedhippiesplace | December 14, 2013 | Reply

    • Brenda, sorry about the late response here, but when I read this on my phone, I was so thrilled that God used my testimony to confirm something for you. As for my story, when I was eighteen, I took off with a boyfriend who made sure I was in a hotel for all of three days. After that, I lived under trees, slept under building overhangs, and slept under newspapers behind the law library in downtown Las Vegas. I went into casinos to wash the comic strips from my face, and I learned how to get free cigarettes and a few free meals from coupons and free bingo. When none of that would work, I went to a McDonald’s trash can and dug for food, but after a few days, I believe God put it on someone’s heart to put fresher food in a bag near the top just before I would arrive. Once, there was a box with 40 boxes of still warm Chicken McNuggets, so I shared those with other street people. I truly believe God was watching me the whole time, and I have even more stories about those times that I’m trying to work into the novel I started back in 2005. But, if we ever get together for dinner like I hope, I can share some of them in person too. 🙂


      Comment by Crystal A. Murray | December 19, 2013 | Reply

  2. I was camped out in a vacant lot with some carnival workers back in 2009. It was off season for them so they were out of work and would fly a sign on the freeway. Most days they would spend hours out there to get 2 or 3 dollars. One day Karla came to me and asked what to do to get people to have more compassion. I told her to just fly her sign and start praying the whole time. She came back about 15 minutes later. I thought she had given up quickly but she told me that she had done as I had said and that a woman drove past her barely even looking at her. She watched the car as the woman went up the road and then made a U-turn. She came back, handed Karla $20 and said ” I heard your prayer”.


    Comment by Lori | December 14, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks for the comment, Lori. I liked it so much, that I went to my writer’s dinner the night after I read it on my phone and shared it with the whole group as an encouragement. I love stories about God providing through the power of prayer, and maybe one day I’ll get to meet with you and gather a bunch of stories since I know you have a lot to share and inspire. Of course, I could also maybe convince you and teach you to start a blog since you do have such great stories of God’s work in your life.


      Comment by Crystal A. Murray | December 19, 2013 | Reply

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