Wednesday, August 12

A Quarter for the Homeless Man

The last few days have been well spent in Kansas City...spending hours on end at the International House of Prayer, precious time with a dear friend, extended moments to write, good rest, and not to mention being able to walk out the front door of my apartment across the street to Starbucks. I'm still convinced that at some point in my life I will spend at least a few months residing in Kansas City' I love this place.

Yesterday I was driving to lunch when a homeless man approached me at a stoplight. Despite my work with homeless, anytime this situation occurs - my mind is sent reeling. What's his story? Where has she been? How long has he been here? This man is someones child. This woman was created in the likeness of Christ. More times than not, I do not have cash - which only sends my mind spinning even more about what I have just done as I have passed by the least of these. (After feeling this way multiple times, I am beginning to think this is reason enough to always have a few dollars cash on hand)

I must say, this situation was slightly different and I had little time to think these thoughts...because this specific gentleman was at my window within moments screaming, literally screaming and shaking his finger at me. He yelled, "Give me a quarter. You're lying, I know you have a quarter. This is MY street, you have to give me a quarter." Now, I cannot say I thought pleasant thoughts at this moment. In fact, I was slightly offended...slightly humored...and slightly amazed that this man was yelling at my closed window. Kristin handed me a Dasani water bottle and I gave it to the man, who responded gratefully, "Well, that will work, that's worth a quarter."

We drove on, and I thought "That Dasani water is worth more than a quarter sir" (forgive me Jesus)...Kristin and I discussed the fact that all that man wanted was a quarter and how random that was. He was clearly drugged out and probably drunk too. We went on to eat, thinking nothing more of the quarter for the homeless man on the corner.

A few hours, I'm sitting in the prayer room at the International House of Prayer reading and this is what I read:
"One of the most revealing windows into a person's soul is the way she treats the outcast. Is the homeless person sleeping in the doorway seen as an eyesore and an annoyance, or as a human being deserving kindness and care? Is the street person who reeks of alcohol and asks for a quarter brushed aside with disdain, or treated with a respect inspired by the realization that..there but the grace of God go I?" (from The Lessons of St. Francis)

Seriously Jesus?
I give a lot of my life to the homeless, the downtrodden, the broken, the inner city....but this one time...and You are letting me have it. Thank you Jesus for conviction. Forgive me for being so good at justifying my own selfishness.

So take some time and ponder compassion today.

"By compassion we make others' misery our own." *Sir Thomas Browne

"Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what its like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too." *Frederick Buechner

Compassion takes effort...and sometimes it's fatal...and sometimes it's misery.

Are you willing?
For whatever you do unto the least of these you have done to My Father in Heaven...
Don't pass Him by.

Saturday, August 1

When My Heart Skips a Beat...

Lately I have been trying to enjoy, recognize, and audibly thank Jesus for the little things that cause my heart to skip a see the beauty all around call out His grace amidst the mundane work be lost in wonder of this very big God who is all about even the very tiniest of details... Its these little glimpses of grace when my heart skips a beat when and my affections cannot help but be stirred for my Maker:

*watching an elderly couple walking hand in hand with coordinating plaid shorts.
*seeing 2 blue-eyed little girls with their daddy on a date.
*partaking in uncontrollable laughter.
*catching up with an old friend.
*the colors of the farmer's market.
*an answered prayer.
*airports and culture.
*ink on my journal pages.
*the grandmother in the projects who gets it.
*talking on the phone with my mom.
*working, walking, running legs.
*hearing about my Dad's day.
*finding my mind wondering about Heaven.
*the power of music over the soul.
*having lunch with my co-workers.
*chatting with Brenda Bailey.
*the exchanging of vows.
*an unexpected early morning text message.
*experiencing community.
*Ephesians 3:14-21.
*observing an older woman give her life to discipling the young ones.
*caramel lattes. vanilla lattes. toffee nut lattes. just lattes.
*a pregnant woman...weird, i know.
*a handwritten letter.
*pondering adoption.
*the one with nothing who gives generously.
*new people.
*love that pursues.
*honest questions.
*the individual who defies all the odds.
*Bethel worship.
*going home.
*overhearing spiritual conversation.
*the city skyline.
*the Village.
*the affluent business man starting his day in the Word.
*being told about some one's legacy left behind.
*being asked the difficult questions by close friends.
*involuntary tears.
*singing at the top of my lungs in my car.
*open-air restaurants.
*a fascinated lover.
*a prophetic word.
*sitting in the corner booth with an over sized coffee mug and a used book.
*laughing with my brothers.
*choosing to see 5:30am as beautiful.
*seeing a man and wife on an evening jog.
*the hippie who doesn't conform.
*seeing one bow his head and bless his meal.
*organic meals.
*new parents.
*spending an evening in the international house of prayer via the webcast.
*Martha, the Starbucks barista, grinning ear to ear at 6:45am.
*running outside.
*an ordinary sunset.

So I tell you...I tell you that these are the little moments from the last several weeks that I have stopped and said thank you Jesus...thank you for being a mighty God given to such minor detail. Give me the grace to recognize Your beauty all around.