Wow, Melinda. How tragic, and how profound. Thanks for sharing that.
God loves the poor – so should we
It’s a messy ministry, but it’s the one that Jesus wants us to embrace. Note that we are not called to assess the motives of the homeless, hungry, and naked. The fact is, they very likely may be trying to scam us; but no matter. They are broken just like we are. When we lay eyes on them, we are told to respond. We are told elsewhere that it’s God’s job to judge the heart. It’s our job to make the compassion that He feels tangible – to put legs on it.
How many times do we drive by the homeless man with the sign proclaiming his need? Do we think to ourselves, “He’ll just use money on booze”? If so, we’re missing the point! We are that man’s divine safety net! We are God’s plan for his care. How are you caring for them this week?
About 7 months ago, a man carrying a sign which said, “Father of 2, no job, hungry” was walking along a sidewalk in our small town of 24000. One of our members felt compassion upon him and gave him some money and heard his story. The next Sunday, another member shared during testimony time that her heart broke for the man and wondered what we could do for him. Within a week, not only had the church ministered to him, but one lady picked him up and brought him to church where he was showered with love and more food. He has since rededicated his life to Christ, and now he and his two children come regularly to church and serve. He shared recently that before Theresa stopped to help him and convince him to oome to church, he was down to 95 lbs. He was literally starving to death. He is back up to 135 now. He is still in process, but God used His people to be the safety net for this man. God knew his name and his need.
This video speak directly to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFrmyD6G5qU
“We are that man’s divine safety net.” Love that statement!
So true and such a new way to think about how our things again are not really ever our own, but rather God’s that he gives us stewardship of.
Seth, I’m shaking my head as my heart sees and feels what you (and the others here) are saying.
Please keep this stuff coming. I’m praying for my friends to get it (and some are!).
Bless you man.
Thanks, Kenny. The prayers will make all the difference. That and taking them w/ you to the Philippines. They’ll get it.
“Our reaction to the needy may be to want to avoid them, but we are told to not turn away; we are connected to these people. To turn away from them is to deny our best selves.
When we lay eyes on them, we are told to respond.
It’s our job to make the compassion that He feels tangible – to put legs on it. He allowed me to feel what He felt a couple of days ago and I thought it would crush me. The Lord showed me that I don’t have a right to “my own stuff” – I must open up my home to orphans.”
This is my heartbeat. You’re speaking my language. In fact, when I taught a semester-long course on this at a Bible College in New Zealand, I told the one who hired me that I was willing to teach it, but only if the school allowed me to LIVE it too- and take others along. I understood the importance of ‘awareness education’ but I knew it meant little unless it was translated into action. The following story from Mother Teresa illustrates why:
“If you are preoccupied with people who are talking about the poor, you scarcely have time to talk to the poor. Some people talk about hunger but they don’t come and say ‘Mother, here is five Rupees, buy food for these people.’ But they can give a beautiful lecture on hunger.”
“I had the most extraordinary experience once in Bombay. There was a big conference about hunger. I was supposed to go to that meeting and I lost the way. Suddenly I came to that place, and right in front of the door to where hundreds of people were talking about food and hunger, I found a dying man. I took him out and I took him home. He died there. He died of hunger.”
“And the people inside were talking about how in 15 years we will have so much food, so much this, so much that, and that man died.”
“See the difference?”
“He allowed me to feel what He felt a couple of days ago and I thought it would crush me.”
Feeling God’s heartbreak and burden for this world has crushed me, too.
It is another step in breaking out of our egocentric shells.
To become extensions of His heart and hands in this world.
Some of the most graced moments of my life have been when I was vulnerable and unguarded with the poor, as I was with a woman who pulled into my driveway one day, desperate, hungry and strung out, running from the police (I found out later). I invited her into my house where she took a shower. I never regretted it; I treated her like a child of God. Her gratitude was overwhelming. I handed her a small amount of cash as she was leaving and she asked, “Why are you doing this?” “Because God is in my life…”
Beautiful post, Seth.