It has almost been a year now that we have been going down to North 1st Street to feed the homeless. We have had a variety of responses, some of which surprise me. I am still caught off guard when I meet someone who wants to jump in and help. They want to either bring by clothes or drop off water and toilet paper by our house. Some people bring by hotel room shampoos and conditioner that they have collected over the years. Every little bit helps so much and blesses so many people. I so badly want them to know that their "small" act of kindness blesses more than they could know.
Other people have said, "That's neat that you are doing that, but it is just not my thing." or "I don't know how you do it, there are so many other people who I would rather help. You know that they got there because of their bad choices." or "It is their choice to be there, they could help themselves if they wanted," and finally, "They deserve it and you are just making it easier for them."
I have spent the last year being obedient to God but internally wondering if we were doing the right thing. What the Lord has put on my heart is simple, "I have commanded you to feed and clothe the poor." The question remains..."Does one person deserve 'Hope' more than another?" "Does a person who is so hurt and damaged that they would sell their bodies for drugs deserve 'Hope' less than someone who does not?" I think that we like to classify people into those who "deserve" healing and those who do not; those who 'deserve' forgiveness and those who do not; those who 'deserve' our time and effort vs. those who do not. This is not biblical.... this is convenient. God said, "Go out into the world and preach the gospel," "feed and clothe the poor and the widows", "love your neighbor", and He came for ALL people.
With all of that said, I can only encourage you to reach out to someone, anyone. They maybe homeless or have a home, they may be old or young, they may be rich or poor... these things to not matter, but just try to open your eyes a little wider and try to see the world around you from God's perspective. It is both alarming and uncomfortable. It makes me feel sorrowful at times yet joyful knowing that I can make a difference one person at a time. If we all reach out to someone in need rather than pass them by, our world would be a kinder, healthier place. There are elderly who are incredibly lonely, children who need someone to encourage them, single parents who need to know that they are not alone.... face it.... We all need the HOPE that Jesus Christ offers and when we have that... we need to pass that gift on to someone who does not.
Today as we were wrapping things up and putting the tables away, Glen just wanted to be heard. He didn't want food or clothes, he just wanted to be heard. He said, "I just want to sit and have a cup of coffee with someone who is not going to try and take something from me." " A cup of coffee? He is actually asking for a friend. Can I really call myself a Christian if I can listen to that request and ignore it? How much more clear does he have to be? It has been almost a year and Glenn just wants to sit and visit over a cup of coffee.
We all have something to offer someone... some time, an ear, a loaf of bread, or a coat. Today we served piping hot beef stew with potatoes and carrots. There is something so amazing and joyful about looking into the eyes of another human being and hand them a nice plate of hot healthy food that will bring nutrition to their bodies with a side of "hope and love" served right up with it. Our lives may seem miles apart from the "needy" but when you look them in the eyes.... you see someone's baby girl or someone's little boy who has grown up... you see someone that is a whole lot more like you... than different from you.
As you go through your week... take an extra minute to look beyond your "normal" routine.... and see someone who could use some words of encouragement, some dignity, some hope. Actively seek God in all that you do and your life will never be the same again!!! :0)