36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
This morning we had a man walk into the cafe with a gift card that was given to him from a Christian who told him to stop in at Offerings and we would feed him. I asked the man if he wanted his meal for here or to go. He replied, “I will take it to go because I don’t want to mess up your place” This man was dirty,his clothes very old and stained. I started chatting with him and did get him to step into the cafe for a minute and eventually he sat down. As I sat with him he started talking about his life past and present. After about 15 minutes he looked at me and said, “I don’t know why I just told you all of that but I now know why I am here.” He said, “this place is different.” My husband, the pastor, came out with his food, sat down and joined the conversation. During our conversation he told me that addicts and homeless people feel unloved. He knows this because he was speaking from his experience and his heart.
It saddens my heart that this man felt unwanted and unloved as many homeless people do. We have had the humble privileged to speak with addicts, prostitutes and the homeless on a daily basis where God has our mission field. Over the last year we’ve gotten to know so many of these “street” people so well and the theme remains the same, they feel unwanted and unloved. Our friends on the street have been beaten down by life and alot of times it has been from their own poor choices but haven’t we all made a poor choice at one point in our life. As we begin to build relationships they behave like kicked puppies and cower and shy away. But God is faithful and if you stretch out your hand and heart in love and treat them with respect they soon say, “you are different”. Praise God we are a peculiar people and with the Holy Spirit’s leading we can display God’s love for people.
I must say it’s one heart break after another as we watch people struggle to get or stay free from their demons and addictions; relapsing and in some cases returning to prison. This journey has been hard and it will continue to be filled with times of elation and times of loss; however, one thing we vow to God is to remain consistent in the lives of the people that God puts in our path and love them no matter where they are in life’s journey.
About a year and a half ago my husband said I would love to have a church full of drug addicts, prostitutes and homeless people. A year and a half later we find ourselves in the inner city with a congregation full of drug addicts, prostitutes and the homeless that God has entrusted to us to love them like Jesus would. We give God all the praise, glory and honor! We love him because he first loved us.
Let me encourage you to reach out and show someone some love today – you may be their only contact with Jesus. Praise Him!!!