Thursday, August 6, 2009

EYES WIDE OPEN

Every year, we are challenged by our Pastor to pray for a word.
A word specifically for each one of us.
A word that we can claim as our 'word of the year'.

My word for the year, well, isn't just one word.
I told God that Pastor David said to pray for A word, but God gave me three.

EYES WIDE OPEN.

Those are my words for 2009.
"...once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act."
{Proverbs 24:12}
Eyes Wide Open.

Although I didn't fully understand what that was going to look like and how it was going to play out this year, I did know that the Lord was calling me to live my life, my everyday life, with my eyes wide open.

Open to those around me.
Open to those who are in need.
Open to those who are hurting.

It is amazing the things you see around you when you simply pay attention.
Things that, when I am focused on me, I just don't see.

Men and women sleeping under bridges.
A man digging through the trash to find his next meal.

It is not unusual here in Orlando to see men and women on the street corners holding cardboard signs saying they are hungry and asking or begging for help.

When Alex and I pass by, it always sparks conversation.
He is usually asking me why I am not giving them money.
Why we are not helping.

Besides the fact that it is difficult to give money when you're driving, I very rarely have cash with me. Maybe a few coins in the console, but that's it.
"Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy."
{Ezekiel 16:49}
I have all kinds of excuses, but my excuses keep me from aiding the poor and needy.

Well, Alex and I decided that we needed to do something.
We needed to stop giving reasons why we cannot help and figure out a way we can.

We know the corners they stand on.
On somedays, we will pass three or four people, standing on street corners, just from our house to the church.

They have immediate needs.
They need food. They need money. They need help.

Yes, they may ultimately need Jesus, but sometimes we need to be Jesus for others to see Jesus.
(Jesus is speaking) "...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me...truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."
{Matthew 25:35-36, 40}
We aren't told to only give if we know why they are homeless, or why they are begging for money, or what they are going to do with it.
We are just told to do something.
To give them food, or clothes.
To love them more than we love ourselves.

But what can we do in the few seconds we have at a stoplight?
Can we really make a difference?

This was our solution. Our way of helping.
Something small to show others that people do care.
Our practical way of sharing the love of Jesus.

We bundled up 2 different flavors of Nature Valley granola bars (they won't melt in the heat), 2 one dollar bills, and a Gospel track.

We're ready.
No more excuses.
No more avoiding eye contact so they won't knock on our window.

We made up about 20 bundles and Keith and I keep them in our cars. We are ready!

They can't knock on our windows now, because we've already rolled them down to give them a gift we've prepared just for them.

As we hand them their gift, we tell them that Jesus loves them and we do to, and as we drive away, we pray for them.
We pray God will protect them, continue to meet their needs, speak to them, and that they will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I will never understand it. It seems so backwards.
The more we give and the more we seek to bless others, the more we are blessed.

Thank you, Jesus, for setting the example for us of what it looks like
to give, to serve, to love.

6 comments :

  1. thank you. i needed to read that. i was just thinking on my way home how selfish i can be sometimes...and with a God who loves me unconditionally...why not love in the same way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. i love this and will make some for my car ASAP!!! we may not have as many on the street corner, but we have some and i always want to help but didn't know what to do, i'm not rich, but i can do this! thank you, thank you, thank you... you guys rock! love you
    matt and julie

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jackie,
    Thank you for this encouraging (and convicting) post. I have always grappled with what to do with beggars on the street. I give when I can but wonder if they'll just turn around and by drugs or alcohol. But after reading Red Letters & Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis and then your blog, I know it doesn't matter. It's not for me to judge how they use it. I LOVE your pre-packaged idea! I hope to emulate them in the near future. Thank you for being an example of Christ in the modern world by your ACTIONS not just by your WORDS.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a great idea! I often find myself in the same situation thinking the same things. Thanks for that post.
    Love,
    Georgia

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is a really great idea. Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete