My very first visit to a soup kitchen was super scary. I mean, I thought “I can’t believe people actually serve here, it’s SCARY” and you have to know that I am not easily frightened. Then I went to a different soup kitchen with some peeps from my church. What a different experience.
I remember being a little nervous based on my past experience. Then it happened… WE PRAYED. There was this guy named Grady, he lead this ministry. I don’t even remember how often we served (I think once a month), I just remember amazing meals that we served. We always did a BBQ in July, yummy dinners… And often, Grady would get a lot of things donated… and act surprised when it happened. He never lost the wonder of God’s provision.
But back to this prayer. I never ever want to forget this. And I’d like you to get it to. He would pray, and we would thank God for His provision, but then he’d pray (every time)… “Lord, let us be mindful that everyone we serve is made in the image of You”.
Does that not blow you away? It blows me away, to this day, before I serve, I say that to myself. Let me be mindful that no matter what happens today, the people I serve were made in Your image, the hurt, the pain, the yuckiness, the world did that to them, not You.
My friend Vicki has this crazy amazing thing about her, she strives to serve the best meal she can at the church/soup kitchen we serve at once a month. She’s not haughty about it, she wants them to know that they are loved, by us and by God. It’s her gift. We even buy good plates For real.
I have carried that into the menu planning that we do when I am blessed to choose the menu when I serve with my church. I know it might be crazy, but if I wouldn’t serve it to my family, I wouldn’t serve it to them. Because the people we serve, while maybe not loved by the world, they are loved by God. (also please note that my friend Vicki also taught me that we don’t serve turkey or ham during November or December because the people we serve get a lot of that).
She took the time to type something to use yesterday, from the book Will Jesus buy me a Double wide… (I promise you this… I cried through this whole thing).
Being Homeless means wearing clothes you did not pick out.
Being Homeless means eating what they give you.
Being Homeless means having to hear a sermon before you can eat.
Being Homeless means being asked for your ID by the police for being in the park.
Being Homeless means hiding everything you own so no one will throw it
Being Homeless means spending more of your day with addicts and the mentally ill, even if you yourself are not.
Being Homeless means people are surprised you have an opinion on the Presidential Election.
Being Homeless means walking several miles to eat.
Being Homeless means you hope the crazy street preachers show up, because it is Saturday and the Soup Kitchen is closed.
Being Homeless means eating meals in a soup kitchen no person would ever order in a restaurant.
Being Homeless means chicken hot dogs.
Being Homeless means hearing people tell you "you should be thankful for what you get" - like chicken hot dogs.
Being Homeless means rich church folks give you second hand underwear.
Being Homeless means standing in line for everything.
Being Homeless means paying .25 cent to pee.
Being Homeless means crying when it rains because you know everything you own is ruined.
Being Homeless means having to choose between staying in the shelter tonight, or going to work today.
Being Homeless means going to the day labor place at 3am so you can work that day and make $47.
Being Homeless means paying $5.00 to cash that $47 check
Being Homeless means you are supposed to be thankful the county will let six of you take a shower each week during the day, when you could be looking for a job,
Being Homeless means means being called ungrateful when you ask why only six when there are 2,000 homeless in the county.
Being Homeless means wondering how you are supposed to get a job when you cannot take a shower.
Being Homeless means being thankful when the temperature drops below 32 degrees because it means you are allowed in the shelter that night.
Being Homeless means means trying not to ask yourself if there really is a difference between sleeping outside when it is 32 degrees and when it is 35 degrees,
Being Homeless means people will judge you for smoking cigarettes.
Being Homeless means being afraid to tell anyone where you sleep.
Being Homeless means talking to your children on a borrowed phone.
Being Homeless means being afraid to hope anymore.
Lord, please let me always be mindful. When you direct me to serve, and when I am tired, remind me that I don’t serve anyone but You. Let me always be mindful that You are good, and the world is not, and I am supposed to bring You to the world. Let me always be mindful that when I serve, I am serving those YOU created, and that You love. Let me always bring my best. Let me always be mindful that You love me when I am messy and I have no right not love any differently!
Lord, thank You this Christmas season, that You came to save and to serve. You didn’t do it in some big crazy way, but the most beautiful way possible. Let me see You in everything, and let people see You in me, in all I do.
Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace