This morning I was thinking about our local outreach ministry. This is a ministry that distributes food to people once a month through government and state agencies. Food is also donated through one of the local grocery stores several times a week for dispersion. They have a thrift store which sells clothing, furniture, appliances, toys, and other items. Another service they offer is to help people with their utility bills when they can’t afford them due to hardship through an application procedure. When there is a tragedy such as a fire or personal family traumas, they furnish essential belongings such as food, clothing and furniture. The first time I toured it, I had tears in my eyes hearing about all of the wonderful things they are doing. It really touches my heart! I’ve only been able to help distribute the food one time and volunteer a few times in other ways. The people who come to collect their food once a month really grab my heart. I cannot imagine what some of them have gone through. I’m crying as I write this because I’m sure it is difficult for them to show up and have to take handouts each month. There may be a few who are ‘using the system’ but they need Jesus too! Those who work there may be the one person that is able to connect with them and show them love. I don’t know how they ended up where they are in their life today and it isn’t any of our business. We should just share God’s love. If Jesus met them he would love them. What a transforming power love is!
“If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:3-7
I was reminiscing of when I used a pressure washing brush to scrub the sidewalk around the ministry. As I washed, I prayed for the people who come in there that they might be touched. I prayed that every person who walked across the sidewalk might be touched by the power of God and that none of them would leave without a seed planted in their hearts. I also prayed for the people who work there that their hearts might have the right attitude to share Jesus’ love and to see others with God’s eyes not human eyes.
As I was washing, I saw how the soap and water washed away the dirt. In the areas that were exposed to light the dirt wasn’t as thick. Isn’t this how our own lives are? People who are exposed to the light (Jesus and the Word) are freer from sin but those who live in darkness have more sin in their lives. It was in the dark recesses that the dirt was harder to clean. Think about places where sin is more rampant, they are places which are busier at night and are dimly lit. I also noticed how some blemishes on the sidewalk came up right away while others could not be removed. I thought about how many of the people who come through those doors will have scars. Some of the scars will be visible and some will not. It’s easy to remember or have empathy for the ones who have visible scars but we have to remember those with invisible scars need love and empathy as well; scars from emotional turmoil or illnesses that aren’t evident. I prayed for all of these people and I cried and sang praise songs as I cleaned. I thought if Jesus were here he would reach out and touch these people. Jesus isn’t here, but I am and I hope that everywhere I go, I allow the Christ in me to be sensitive to reach out and touch others.
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
I truly hope that I reflect the image of Christ and his love.
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13