I wish I was a better person. My wife, now she is an extraordinary woman who loves people, and serves God. I think of this one time we were in San Diego for a visit. Jen went over to Starbucks while I was in line at the Yogurt Mill. She was getting some snacks and coffee for the ride back to Yuma.
A man behind her in line who was from some El Cajon church (I wish I remembered which one) paid for her things, and I think for a few more people in the store. Jen came back to where I was and as we were about to get back into the car, she noticed a homeless guy on crutches leaning against a dumpster.
“I’m gonna give him this stuff,” she said, gesturing with the food. And she walked over there with David and did that very thing. She paid it forward that day.
I want to serve God with that kind of heart.
I remember a while back, some friends and I had gone clubbing in downtown San Diego on January 2nd, and it was still pretty darn cold. I remember walking back to the car after being out at about 2am. There were people sleeping here and there on the sidewalks and in doorways. As we stepped past this particular doorway, I could sense a very strong direction from God to give my jacket (it was a pretty nice leather jacket) to a particular homeless man, who was sleeping sitting up, his back against a wall.
I didn’t do it. I was cold.
After that, I could not get around what I’d done–or not done, I guess. I’d always wanted direction from God, and when I got it, I looked toward my own best interests, and did not clothe one of the “least of these.”
I couldn’t wear that jacket again, and went so far as to stow it in the trunk of my car. I still ask God for forgiveness of that one. My leather jacket stayed in the trunk for a good long while. And then one day a friend from my small group was doing a “jacket outreach” to downtown San Diego–it was the next winter, I think. I handed the jacket over to her without thinking about it.
I don’t say this to convince anyone of what a great person I am for doing something I should have done the year before. I only say it because not doing what God prompted consumed me for the better part of a year. And this time of year, I feel like there might be a lot of people out there who feel like they should do something to help someone that needs it. To offer food, or clothing, or simply a friendly ear to a person who needs any of those things.
Please, please if you feel that kind of prompting from God, or the Holy Spirit moves you in some other way, just do what you feel led to. Don’t wait. Especially this time of year. There are people out there hurting, and needing, and wanting. I think of a posting my friend Jorge had on Facebook today about a young mother that lost her job and had nothing. I don’t know if it was true or not, but it still moved me.
We did a really big outreach here in Yuma about a year-and-a-half ago to Crossroads Mission and a couple of other places. I was fortunate and blessed enough to speak to a gathering of about 20 men in an after-dinner chapel service they are made to attend when they stay at the mission.
I remember talking to some of the men (and women who worked there but were not residents) prior to and after the chapel service, and they were such amazing people.
But I imagine they were used to getting stepped over in doorways.
If you live here in Yuma and you ever have the chance to serve there, I cannot encourage you more. You will be blessed to know those folks, I promise you. There are plenty of places like that in San Diego, too.
Serve there, if you can. Serve anywhere.
But don’t let another doorway pass you by.