Other times He gets our attention through a series of seemingly unconnected happenings. I prefer the series myself. I love looking back to find the one red thread woven through multiple instances, sewn by our Creator, to bring us to an EPOCH, an instant in our life where He speaks so clearly. God used 4 to bring me to my epoch….
Over lunch the other day my oldest daughter Mackenzie and her boyfriend Matt told me that they are leading a youth group back to the New York School of Urban Ministry this summer. Wow, flashback! I spent 4 summers taking youth groups to the city with one purpose – to minister to those hurting in the inner city. We worked soup kitchens, AIDS hospitals, projects, and homeless shelters. After all, God tells us to love the unlovely, right?
I loved it. So happy and proud of them….
But somewhere I lost my love for it. I guess life got in the way.
I love our friends that gather at our home on Monday nights to share in each others ups and downs. Last Monday, one of our friends shared how she didn’t minister to someone in need. And it really bothered her. It bothered me for her.
But it really didn’t move me to action. At least not right away.
I lost my love for those who are hard to love, ’cause life got in the way.
Why would he be any different from the other homeless panhandlers I pass on the street corners every day? I’m too busy to bother. But he was different. He had newspapers in his hand to sell, and it wasn’t a Sunday. Odd. Wait… I remembered reading about this program! He was selling the Tampa Epoch, a monthly street newspaper that focuses on homelessness and poverty. It’s distributed by homeless and formerly homeless vendors who keep the profit from the papers they sell. I had some loose change, and the light had just turned red, why not?
I’d read the paper, but it really didn’t move me. I once really cared for those less fortunate.
But I somewhere lost that love, cause life got in the way.
Over a lazy Sunday lunch, after the plates had all been cleared and we were all kicking back with good cup of coffee, the subject of being homeless and panhandling came up. Odd. The thread. Really God? I listened, partly at least, somewhat distracted by that first moment when you realize that woven thread connecting a series of events that God is using to get your attention.
Quick background on David – he is a retired social worker who dedicated his life to helping those less fortunate.
I tuned back in when David said the following: “I intentionally carry some cash on me to give to a panhandler or homeless person.” In my living room of Christians, the puzzled looks were everywhere. He continued “I don’t care if they use my money to buy drugs or alcohol. If it gets them through today, their life saving help may happen tomorrow.” Stunned silence. You see, David is street smart. He knows that many give up, commit suicide. And his dollar may just be the bridge that God uses to get them to tomorrow. And tomorrow may be their EPOCH….who are we to think otherwise?
God used NYSUM, Tampa Epoch, a missed opportunity to love, and a bold statement by David to get my attention.
Love got in my way, and now the busyness of life seems less urgent.