Ok, since I’ve started a theme here, I’ll throw in my last personal anecdote about homeless people. I’ll then be all out and have to go out and create some more stories.
There’s a friend of mine, Tim, who works in Cincinnati. Tim was regularly going through a certain part of town and started noticing these homeless people. Out of compassion and Godly obedience, he felt he needed to do something for them so he started bringing them PB&J sandwiches. He even got his Home Group involved. Over time he developed relationships with these people and began to learn of other needs such as the need for gloves and sleeping bags. We (our church) decided to do a video piece on his ministry. Our media director was unavailable to shoot the footage so he asked me.
I travelled with Tim to Cincinnati and though I was behind the camera, I was able to meet some of Tim’s friends and interact with them. One of the women was very grateful for the sleeping bags and said “We would have froze to death last night if you hadn’t brought us those sleeping bags”. I remember sitting on the sidewalk with these folks as people in business attire walked by on the far side of the sidewalk. I got a glimpse of homeless life. These people I met weren’t mentally ill (yes, some are). They just fell on hard times and never recovered.
I have to tell you something. When I think of that day, it makes so many things in my life seem like a useless wast of time. Fortunately for my conscience, I keep busy enough to not think about people in dire need. You know, like changing the channel with sponsor-a-child commercials come on. So I don’t feel so bad about wasting my money on coffee and wasting my time on YouTube.
But I have to ask myself as a church leader – even as a Worship Leader. What is the point of all of this – church, sermons, worship experiences, home groups, etc., if we are not bringing peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches to homeless people? Or if we are not inviting our shut-in neighbor over for dinner because he probably hasn’t had a conversation with a friend for 3 months. Or if our hearts don’t break for every person we know of who is trapped in a dead-end life with no hope because they don’t know Jesus.
Like I said in my post about Jacob, in the moments of interaction with those homeless people, I felt God with me like no where else. Wouldn’t that make sense that God would be hanging out around these people in need just waiting for a Christian who is not so busy downloading the newest Chris Tomlin CD or writing a blog, to show up and offer their hands and feet for God to use?
How many homeless do you suppose die each day without notice of anyone but the local police? My step-sister Gretchen may be able to give us the figure in L.A. where she’s studying social work. I remember when Tim’s friend, Carl, died of cancer. Tears were shed for him. Hearts were broken for him.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around, does it make a sound?