Saturday, March 26, 2011
Ready to serve.
Driving on a hot summers day, the air conditioning blasts, a cold coke sits within hands reach, condensation rolling down that 44oz cup. You're singing. Songs of praise and worship. As you slow for the red light, you see him, old, rugged, skin - sun baked, dry, holding his sign: 'Need help, homeless'. Junkie. Alcoholic. The first thoughts in your mind. You think about the cash in your bill fold, would he just use it for his addiction? The light turns green and it's too late. You leave, but something nags, you feel uncomfortable. His face stays in your mind for weeks, months. Every time you pass that spot, you look, is he there?
It's cold. You're on your way home from Christmas shopping, trunk loaded, Starbucks close by in the drink holder. You see her. Bundled. Arms wrapped around tight, shivering. Face worn for pain, hurt and abuse. You blame her. There is help if she wanted it. But she's choosing this, why should you help, when she wouldn't help herself? Yet, you can't help the guilt, the shame, as you go home safe to your loving family and friends.
iMMERGENT has started a wonderful new ministry. It's not what you would imagine. It's phenomenal. Every second Saturday, Mrs Leslie Smith appears at the childrens church with boxes of supplies. Toiletries, socks, blankets, t-shirts, bottled water, snack bars, fruit, gift cards.
She has each child pack a bag. The child makes a craft and then places in also in the bag and says a prayer for the person whom will receive the bag. With childlike joy and compassion, they eagerly await an opportunity to give.
The bags sit in the car. The first two months, the bags went to the same two men. Frank and David. They always slept in the same spots. So we would pull up. Josh would go out and give them the bags and pray for them. Well, Frank liked the prayers, David didn't. Then they were were gone. The girls wept. Where were they? What had happened?
So the bags sat. One day. We stopped at a red light. There a lady stood, forlorn, gruff, the beautiful person created in God's image hidden below years of hurt and anger. My heart leaped, we grabbed one of the bags and handed it to her, with the cut out heart and message from Esther. The girls whooped and cheered. Their faces shining with a joy that came from the deepest part of their beings.
The next week, once again, an old man. In a wheel chair. Eyes blood shot. He looked dangerous. He'd been waging a war his whole life against himself and it had led to destruction. He still belonged to God, this man, the apple of his heavenly Fathers eye.
This time, the girls shouted 'Mommy! The bag! Give him the bag!'
It dawned on me, what must in mean to these people, even the most hardened, for a bright eyed child of 2 or 4 to have personally made them a bag and card. To have prayed for them.
What must it feel like, to know, that a stranger, had prepared something, just waiting for God to place you in their path so they could share. Even if it touched them for just a few minutes. It's worth it.
Oh the faith and love of a child.... what it can fathom and accomplish that we adults cannot.
In my heart, it was amazing, no battle, no calculating what was in my purse, no lowering my eyes to avoid that look; the 'lady, can't you give just a little, even if it is for a beer, because it would help me feel better' look.
We were ready to serve. Thank you Leslie. Thank you for making our family ready to serve.
We are all equal, all precious, all worth time, patience and love. Because we are made by God, a personal God.
No one should be written off or given up on, because God never gives up on us.
How humbling... how convicting... how liberating.