Honestly, I didn’t start the day thinking it would end like that. Actually, I headed into town that afternoon because I needed to run some errands and stop at the grocery store for a few items.
As I reached the edge of town I passed a man standing on the street corner. It was a frigid day. We would only reach 22 degrees. With the wind chill it felt even colder. He was bundled up in layers of mismatched clothing, a hat pulled closely down around his ears. Tattered gloves covered his hands. His sign read “I’m Hungry.”
Nothing more, nothing less. A simple statement. “I’m Hungry.”
Then there was the guy standing on the corner two blocks down. Bundled against the cold. His sign read. “Hungry. Homeless. Anything will help.”
I waited in line for the light to turn, keenly aware how warm my car was. The family that waited for me at home. The roof over my head and the food on my table. It had always been enough. Even during the lean years, when I wasn’t sure. Compared to what my eyes saw today. It was beyond enough.
Usually I would pass these men on by. Like every other driver waiting for the light to turn green, I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. Trying hard to look past the man with the sign.
Only one problem. Over the last year God has been slowly wrecking my heart. And in the wrecking of my heart these words echo.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matt. 25:34-40)
I have always, always, always, allowed my fear of man to keep me from serving others that I have considered “least.” And I am ashamed.
That day, as I entered the grocery store I knew that God was speaking my heart into action. To push past the fear, the uncomfortable feeling that comes from stepping beyond your comfort zone. To push past long held beliefs.
The simple truth was that God was asking me to serve them simply because they were human. Because they were His. They were someone’s son, maybe a brother, a father or husband. It was not my place to judge how they would use what they were given. It was my place to simply obey.
As I pulled up to the stoplight once again, I rolled down my window. Heart beating loudly in my ears. “Here you are sir. Some hot chicken soup and a cup of hot coffee.” And this time, instead of looking past the man, I peered into his face. Staring back at me, from a hat pulled low, were two brown eyes, immediately joined by a smile that broke across his face. “Oh, Thank you so much. Bless you, just bless you.” Tattered gloves grasped the hot food and beverage. “Your welcome,” I said “Stay safe out there.” “Yes Ma’am, I sure will. Thank you again.”
Two blocks down I repeated the same words. The same words came back at me. “Thank you, God bless you.” You’re welcome, stay safe out there.”
As the light turned green and I headed for home, I glanced into my rear view mirror. I could see him standing there. Sign in one hand, coffee in the other. And I was sad.
Sad, because while I was in the store gathering soup and coffee for two…three more – two men and a woman – had taken up residence on opposite street corners. Same signs, same request.
And I realized how great the need was and always has been.
And then I understood, more profoundly than ever before, why Jesus spoke those words in Matthew. “‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25:40)
He calls me to actively serve those in the deepest of need even at the expense of my own comfort. Which can be a really hard pill to swallow. But, for me, to do any less would simply be waiting for the light to turn green, staring past the need on the corner.
This past week I joined up with the Living Bread Ministries “Blogging For the Poor” Network.
Living Bread Ministries is a ministry, based in Lynchburg, VA, committed to planting churches among the global poor. Their Vision is to expand an interdependent church planting movement among the global poor. Their passion is for Christ to be glorified by the global church working together, each contributing what they can, to care for the poor and needy. Their mission is to plant missional churches among the global poor and equip them to care for their communities.
Take a moment to listen to this message from Patrick and Barbara Hubbard about Living Bread Ministries and their heart for the global poor. You can find out much more about them through the Living Bread Ministries Website.
Also, follow them on their Facebook Page –Living Bread Ministries Facebook – for updates on and off the field.
Maybe God has been “wrecking” your heart likes he’s been “wrecking” mine. What is he showing you? What is he speaking to your heart? How does he want to use your story for his bigger story? Would you share with me, either here in the comments or through the contact form? I would truly love to hear what he’s showing and stirring in you.
And may I ask one more thing? Would you pass this post along? Would you share it on facebook, twitter, linked-in, e-mail or wherever your sphere of influence is at?
Will you help me pass the word about Living Bread Ministries – About the need to serve the ‘least’ of these? My heart is to help share about God’s bigger story as it is happening around us and in our world. But we need help to move it forward.
You all bless me so much – praying for you as you love those around you.
On Mission For Him,
Linking Up with Michelle DeRusha today. Join Us There.
And with Angie Ryg@ Inspire Me Monday’s