A Heart for the Homeless Part II

13 Aug

 I catch a glimpse of her on the sidewalk in front of me. Outstretched arm with tin cup intwined in fingers.
I have no other route and I must walk past her. And so I do what I’ve learned to do best.
I ignore her.
I pick up my pace. Shift my eyes to the very, extremely exciting other side of the street. Justify my cause by the fact that she should have a job, that she would only use my money for drugs, and that perhaps the next time I’ll have time to help. But I avoid her eyes.
Why? Am I guilty? And Of what? Lord show me what to do!

If I am to be Your hands then will I not at least buy her some food? Oh I don’t know!
If I am to be Your eyes then will I not STOP shuffling my shoe on the pavement and gaze into the eyes of the oppressed?
New York City. Philly. Lancaster. Phnom Penh. I cannot escape their extended hand.
I’m like the Pharisees, who gave so willingly…only when the world could see. I give out of my abundance.
Sure, I spent the morning passing out bananas to precious street children, but all the while knowing I’ve got a full meals security waiting for me at the base.
Sure, I give three months of my life in overseas ministry, but all the while knowing that my Lancaster security cushion is only a few weeks away.
Oh Smite me Lord! For Doing things only for the Approval of Man! For clinking my money a little harder in the tin. For casting a side gaze as I prayed for that woman. For all my worthless, fanciful speech.
Wretched soul that I am. And yet, it is For HIS Kingdom that I drive the hitchhiker, it is for HIS Courts that I bow the knee, it is for HIM that I pen these thoughts.
But here I sit. On my little blue mattress, 4 inches of the floor. Tile wall beside me covered in verses and prayers unanswered, but in the making. Perhaps i’ll add this one to the wall: My role in the lives of the Homeless that I come in contact with.
I could pray with them. I could give them that. But I cannot stop there!
Oh, but what will I do the next time? For that is the true test.

Last time. Lucky for me. Someone else in the group talked to the lady in Times Square with the baby in her arms. I got to shuffle my feet as He talked to her. And then I turned away.
Last time. Lucky for me. I turned my eyes away before the old man with cardboard sign in Washington DC caught my eye. As far as he knew, I never saw him in my rapture of the Washington Monument.
But I knew. Oh Yes. I knew.
But then. Glory Be. There was another last time.
 I drove thru Lancaster, sat at a traffic light, hurriedly handed out my lunch to skinny-man with the cardboard sigh. Traffic light turns green, but I have only three seconds to tell him Jesus is The One to thank. Horns blare behind me. Traffic is angry at the Menno girl wasting three seconds of precious time. I try to remember that before Coatesville Lady (who almost killed me with the heat machine) I would have perhaps had my hand to the horn as well. God Change me!
Life is not measured in seconds. And So I give.
But I cannot get over the fact that I give out of my security.
Like a trapeze artist who impresses the audience, all the while knowing the security net is only just below.
So. I give my lunch to skinny homeless man, all the while, knowing I can buy lunch in five minutes at Prince Street Cafe.
So. I drive Coatesville Lady an hour or two, all the while, knowing I can go back to comfortable home only miles away.
So. I give money to missions, possibly even time, all the while, knowing…knowing it all!
Maybe I’ll just go become a cardboard-sign-holder, or a tin-can-extender. Maybe not. I don’t know.
I only know this: That I am tired of casting down my eyes at the site of a beggar. I’m tired of letting it be someone else’s job. I’m downright tired of my Pharisee clinking of money in the box.
Oh God! If You love these tin-can-holding Precious People, then by all means, I want to love them too…
“…To Divide YOUR bread with the hungry…” MY BREAD?!
“…To bring the homeless into YOUR house…” MY HOUSE?!
“…When you see the naked, cover him…” MY CLOTHES?!

Perhaps. Perhaps this is the scandal of the Gospel. That WE actually go out and do it.
Boy, What If WE actually lived the Gospel?…

32 More days. Heh Heh.

.three articles I WISH I had written that I WISH you would read.

1. “…There’s not much more I can do, not tonight. And lucky for me, I don’t have to. I have the unfathomable luxury of walking away…” 
-Heather Coaster

2. “…If we have to read one more blog post or go to one more conference seminar or listen to one more sermon about the needy, we’re going to scream!…
-Matthew Paul Turner

3. “…And I’m still thinking about what it would look like if justice became a lifestyle for me…”
-Tanya Huyard

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4 Responses to “A Heart for the Homeless Part II”

  1. arietta August 13, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    Oh, If we would really live like this. If everyone who claims Christ would REALLY live this day in and day out what a different world it would be! Thanks for posting!

  2. Shasta's Fog August 13, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    I’m so encouraged by your blog. This particular post reminds me of a quote: “Christians know a whole lot more about the Bible than they ever plan on obeying.”

    Thank you for your faithfulness and your heart of obedience.
    Claudia… HOPE. Hope and lead.

    God bless you both as you continue to serve.

  3. Chelsea Anne August 14, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    You guys, this was SO timely. I had a moment of “looking the other way” yesterday and the Lord has been receiving a lot of questions from me on my own behavior. This post was encouraging and challenging. Thank you!

  4. krissy August 15, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    raw passion.
    write a book claud.
    i miss you.

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