One of the joys of my life is going out into the city to share the Gospel with the unchurched, broken, and people living on the streets.
Honestly, sometimes I am tired. Getting up early, loading up my car with supplies, and spending a Saturday on the streets can be tiring. Yet the people I meet, I do not forget their faces nor their stories. They are etched into my heart, similar to initials carved into a tree.
On the streets I see people God loves, yet many are considered the invisible people.
It would require quite a bit of time to stop for every single person we see with a sign or hurting. It is not about stopping for everyone, it’s about stopping for the one God highlights. He will highlight someone and some days many people. He is so faithful, if we ask God to place someone on our path who needs an encounter with His love He will.
On the streets and in the free clinic, I see Jesus. I sense His strong love for people. I confess, sometimes I weep. Sometimes I weep with them. I am not a feeler personality so weeping with strangers is a big deal. My heart is overcome with compassion and love for people God loves. How He loves the world.
Today we met people with various stories; some young, some old, some male, some female. They were each looking for food on this cold, blistery, 20F day. Some had no gloves. Some were happy to get beef jerky, sandwiches, blankets, water, supplies, and clean socks.
One man had tucked himself away in the Port o Jon in the park. Concerned he was in there too long, we knocked on the door. He was in there to keep warm and eat his chips. What joy was on his face to find out food was waiting on him.
One man stood, solemn faced, shaking his cup while people walked by overlooking him. He just kept shaking his empty cup. He stood in the blistery cold, just looking for something to eat. One of my teammates is a 65 year old grandma. I said, “I am not sure we are going to get to him and not miss the light,” (we were driving). She replied, “Watch me!” She hopped out of the car, shuffled over to the man, handed him a bag of food and supplies, and ran back chasing the car. She has a bad back, yet did not desire to miss someone God wanted to feed today.
Another elderly lady was begging for food outside the bars. People passed her, though her sign was simply asking for food. We will call her Faith. Faith has a smile you would not forget.
Why tell you stories? Because you can make a difference in someone’s life in one small act of kindness. Some say, “Why give someone a hand out. You are not helping anyone.” Yet they are not the people who get up early, wipe tears of people on the street so happy to be seen. They do not hug the drunk or drug addict or person who smells of urine or vomit. They are not close to the pain, so they are not aware of what God can do in one moment.
One moment of, “Tell me your story,” can lead to radical encounters with God. One moment of touching that person no one will look in the eye can bring healing. One moment of filling a hungry belly can birth a big grin. One moment of putting gloves on frozen hands can lead to a, “Thank You God.” One moment of God loves you; God sees you, can lead someone into an encounter with God’s heart.
The naysayers are not there to see the spirit of suicide leave people, to see the crippled walk, the lost give their hearts to Jesus (that’s a soul that was snatched from hell). They do not see the smiles, nor hear the laughter. They are not there. They judge from a distance.
I am telling you one moment with God can transform someone’s life. I told you of Bob (name changed) who in 6 weeks was off the street and with a job. He refused prayer when I met him. He said, “I do not believe in that healing crap. God heals…no I do not want prayer. My life is a mess.” I told him he could not stop me from praying for him. God turned his life completely around. In the end, Bob was praising God for loving him. He said, “No one had ever loved him so much.” Each time we would find him and love him.
Love looks like Someone; love looks like Jesus.
We can all gather together in clumps of salt and light each week, or we can take that salt and light out into the market place, the grocer, the gas station, our workplace, the street corners, our schools. The mission does not need to be oversees. The mission is love. The mission is Jesus. The mission is right in front of us.
What can we do? Maybe you are not called to city streets like me. Yet you have a sphere of influence. Who are you loving for Jesus? Who are you serving for Jesus? You see, I am aware we are saved by faith not works. Yet truly knowing Jesus compels us to love our neighbor. Someone needs what we carry. Christ in us (if we are believers) is the hope of glory. If you do not know Jesus, click here. How to Know Jesus.
I tell you these stories so maybe, just maybe when you see a broken, hurting, hungry person there may be a thought that arises, “I can not do everything, I can do something.”
In the very words of Jesus…”Whatever you have done to the least of these, you have done to Me.” May we ask God on a regular basis to show us someone who needs His profound love!
The world is hungry for His love.
Founder/Overseer of Operation God is Love