This post isn’t to brag or to bring glory to any person or group of people.
This post is to share an experience with you that I am still trying to process.
Today a group of people from my church met up to go feed the homeless. A local organization does this every week under a bridge. We decided that on Easter there was no better way to show the love of Christ that to serve those who are less fortunate.
To help you understand here are some facts about our group.
- We are all white.
- We all drove to the place to serve.
- We were all semi dressed up because we had left church a few hours before.
- None of us were hungry.
These things mentioned above are not necessarily bad. BUT they definitely made us stand out. When we first got there it looked like a middle school dance. The people who had come to help on one side. The people who needed help on the other. These people had walked to the bridge. Who knows when they ate last. Most were not white. None were dressed up.
As we stood there waiting for instructions we talked about church. We talked about how full we were from lunch. There were mentions of clothes and plans for supper. These things all seem so normal to us. But that isn’t so for everyone.
We received our instructions and people began to line up by a table. I noticed a familiar face. I recognized a guy from high school that I played sports with. He wasn’t there to help. He was there to eat. If you have played on a team you know the close bond. It’s like family. You have each other’s backs. You want to do whatever you can to help each other. And here I am with an old teammate needing food. My mind flooded with emotions. This wasn’t just another guy. This was someone I knew. So often we see someone in need and they are just that. A someone. They aren’t a person with a story or a soul. At least we don’t like to see them as that. This was a weird moment for me. I am passionate about helping others. This moment was different. It wasn’t just others. It was my friend. He needed help. I wanted to go talk to him but I couldn’t. I didn’t know if I would cry or if I would be numb to the whole thing. While I was staring and trying to decide what to do my sister came to me and told me who it was. It was who I thought. I decided to go talk to him. We shook hands and talked for a few minutes. I didn’t know what to say. I know my mind was filled with random emotions. I can’t imagine his. Was it embarrassment? Sadness? Regret?
We finished talking and I told him I would come back and talk to him after lunch. I walked off and finished passing out the Bibles I was given to hand out. The pastor started giving a devo before we got on to serving lunch. I started to look for my old teammate. I couldn’t find him anywhere. I don’t know if he left because he had somewhere to be. I don’t know if he walked to where I couldn’t see him. I don’t know if he left out of embarrassment thinking I was judging him.
I wish I would have told him I cared for him. I wish I would have told him that no matter how hard life got I would be here to help. I wish I would have told him that he matter. That Jesus loves him. That even if he ever feels worthless and that people don’t care it isn’t true. I wish I would have told him that he is significant.
The things that bothers me most is that every person there today is cared for. Every person on the planet is cared for. But how often do we go about our business just hoping not to get interrupted by someone. We feel bothered by people needing help. I have learned that every time you help someone it will be inconvenient. Nobody leaves early for work just in case they see someone with a flat tire. Nobody carries extra shoes in their car to give to someone who might need them. If we want to meet these needs we have to take time out of our day to help.
I feel like we are so sheltered. We are blind to the needs around us. I saw multiple people today without proper shoes. I saw someone walking around in cleats. Didn’t have tennis shoes. Cleats. Football cleats. I saw another man that had shoes on that flopped with every step. I thought the bottom of the shoe was going to come off at any second. And here I am with 10+ pairs of shoes at home.
I’m not sure if this blog helped anyone or even made sense. I just pray that we aren’t blind to the needs around us. That we will be the hands and feet of Jesus. That we will love these people more than we love our stuff. That we will understand these people have a name. And a soul. And they need Jesus just as much as everyone else. I pray we understand these aren’t lesser people because they have less stuff. I pray we become proactive to help those in need and don’t just do it out of obligation.
I pray we will live our lives with four words in mind.
Love God. Love others.