Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Everybody Has a Story

Indeed...everyone in this world has a story. If only we would take the time to listen to those unlikely people, we might see that God is at work and loves those that the world has forgotten. We might even see that we have a lot to learn from those quiet, unassuming people. Last night I joined some people from this hometown community of mine to help host a dinner at First Baptist Church. The guests were not so called important people, nor were they church members, or old friends, or missionaries. The guests of honor were those men and women in our community who have no place to call home, nobody to love them or care for them. They live on the street, in abandoned buildings, out of their cars, and on park benches. We see many of them each day sitting on the street corner with their signs, asking for money, food...love, but we never stop to talk and ask them their stories. I ate dinner last night with a few very interesting men. The stories are sad, they are aggravating, heartwrenching, and more and more common. I realize that there is not a whole lot that separates me from some of these folks. Many were abused, forced into situations that tore them down and made them into something they did not want to be. I find myself lumping them all into one category and usually find myself believing that they are lazy, addicted to drugs, and probably lying about how needy they are. But I am wrong. It's hard enough for me or any other straight laced, hard-working person to find a job right now. How much harder must it be for a man who has spent 21 years in prison as a convicted felon and doesn't have the money to get a haircut or a decent pair of glasses? It's hard. He may have all kinds of skills and experience and good work ethic, but it doesn't really matter to most people when they see his record. I wish I could do more to help. We sent them off with extra food, blankets, tarps, jackets, clothes, toiletry items, and a smile. I invited a few to church on Sunday and they said they would come. I shall wait with hope and see if they keep their word. I don't have much to offer, but I can smile, I can give them Jesus, and I can do my part to feed and clothe those God brings into my life. There are people across the world in Africa who need my help and my love, but there are also people on my own street corner. I challenge you to look for the people in your life today who need a smile, a glass of water, and Jesus.

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