Tag Archive for 'needy'

traveler

Ron
Ron is originally from the Adirondacks. He was born on a dairy farm, taken from his family and sent to a foster home, made it through high school, worked for a union, built high rises in San Diego and LA, hurt his back, gets workman’s comp, met a woman in Tijuana, she became pregnant, he smuggled her across the border when she was three months pregnant, married her, had another child, four years later she finally got her green card, he cheated on her, she left him in South Carolina. He’s been all over Mexico, every state, the Philippines, and several other countries. His brother committed suicide, both of his parents are dead, he misses his mother, loves his son, loves his dogs. He moved with his cousin Mike to El Paso to be with a woman he loved, she took all his money, all his things, and kicked him out.

Mike – “Cowboy”
Mike is Ron’s cousin. Mike is quiet, he loves country music, he IS country music. Real country music. He worked in Branson, MO where he met Stevie Ray, Merle Haggard, and Hank Williams Jr.

I encountered Ron and Mike on their journey from El Paso back to SC. Their Jeep Cherokee Laredo broke down in my town. They parked at a shopping center and begged for money. A couple of police officers confronted them and directed them to a church 4 miles down the road. My church. The church informed them that they only help locals and don’t usually help those passing through. But they did pay for an estimate for Ron at the local Jeep dealer.
I met Ron when I didn’t have time for Ron. My wife and I were headed downtown to take Fabian a pair of shoes and socks (see below for that story) then to dinner. She wanted to stop by a store for the last day of a sale, but we were quickly losing daylight. I decided to stop anyway. We parked the car and there was Ron. The trunk was open, Mike was in the passenger’s seat, and Ron was walking toward me. I knew what Ron needed, but didn’t know if I was going to believe his story. He told me they broke down, didn’t have the money to fix the car, and showed me a quote from the local dealer with the bill to my church. I pulled out my wallet, pulled out all my cash, and gave it to him.
When we were done shopping, we came back out to Ron still standing outside of his car. He was extremely thankful and gave me a hug. He said he knew God said, “ask and you shall receive,” but nobody was helping him. He said only once before had someone been as generous as I had been. No one had ever opened their wallet to him and said, “here is all I’ve got.” I didn’t know how much I gave him, but he told me. And it wasn’t even the amount that he was most thankful for, but that I gave it all. He told me they were going to the truck stop to try to wash their clothes and take a shower, then they would head to the church to spend the night in their car.
We got back in the car, saw how others responded to him, and watched the manager kick them out of the parking lot.
We started to head downtown to Fabian, when I realized that I cannot live with myself continually passing up these opportunities. Too many times do I overlook a need, only to regret not making the impact I could have made.
I turned the car around and decided to try to meet their need. I called my friend (who is conveniently a mechanic) and told him I’d pay for the parts if he could help me install them. He was more than willing. My only problem was I lost my new friends… again (see Fabian). They weren’t too hard to track down. They relocated across the street with the trunk popped, asking for more money. My friend met me out there and we found that the repair wasn’t as simple as I thought it might be. We tried all we could to source the parts. We decided we really wouldn’t be able to fix it ourselves. I told Ron that I’d like for him and Mike to come by the church service in the morning. He was slightly hesitant, but agreed. I gave him my number and that was it for the night.
I struggled with having a house and being approached by someone sleeping in their car. Why don’t I open my doors, my shower, my bed to them? Why not?
I called Ron about 10:40 to see if he was there to go to the 11:00 service with me. He didn’t answer. About five minutes into the service, he called. He said he talked to someone in the church office that said they would pay for their repairs. The church also took them to their care center and gave them some water and canned food. He told me someone was meeting him to get the food, but he wanted to get to the service because he knows those Southern preachers can really get fired up. He said he knows God can speak directly through a preacher to someone. He said he was in tears when the church said they would help.
I caught them leaving the service and invited them as my guests to lunch with my friends. They followed us to lunch and I was able to sit and have a conversation with these two men. Ron told me everything… more than I was expecting to be told. Ron told me that he had a good heart, hadn’t always done what God says, but had a good heart. He praised me for my good heart, even said he wishes his son had my heart. I told him my heart isn’t good, that helping him wasn’t what my heart would normally choose, but that it was Christ in me. Ron appreciated having someone to talk to and Mike enjoyed the food. I left Ron and Mike feeling like I had done nothing, but just hoping that I had been a light in some way.

Why can’t I give everything for someone else? I do see Christ working in me. I could have left Ron and Mike with my cash, but I just hope that I left them with a seed. A seed that is the example of Christ. But how unworthy I am to be that example. How little I did when I could have done more.
Christ is moulding me into something so much greater than I can imagine. Is softening my heart to those who are kicked to the curb and shunned. Christ went to the woman at the well. Christ went to Zacchaeus. These are his people. These are my people.
LORD, help Your people to see the needs of others and sacrifice themselves to meet those needs.

Why should someone like Ron believe “ask and you shall receive” (whether he took it out of context or not). As the children of God, when someone asks, they should receive. If we are to be the hands and feet of Christ, we need to start meeting needs and being Christ to others. He met our needs and then some. We should open our eyes to others’ needs and meet those needs with an abounding, self-sacrificial love.

homeless

Do you have the humility that it takes to ask people for everything that you have? Not ask but beg. To stand on a street corner with all that you have and ask every person that comes by for anything?
You know that you’re second. You know that you don’t belong.
Everyone looks at you. Everyone turns away. Everyone locks the doors and rolls up the window. No one trusts you. Everyone thinks that you have enough. Everyone judges you based on your past that got you to where you are. You’re living under an invisible weight that you cannot get out from under.

People can bring you shoes. People can bring you clothes. Take you to buy some food. They can even give you the change out of their cup holder.
But you’re still stuck. You’re still who you are. The only possible way to be a man again is by adoption. There’s no way you’ll ever have a car. There’s no way you’ll ever be able to get a job at your age. There’s no way to maintain any self-respect and dignity when every day you’re literally kicked to the curb. Your bed is the street. The only ones you talk to are the ones you beg for money. But they don’t want to talk.
You’re like a child in an orphanage. Your orphanage is the street.
You don’t have the ability to make it on your own. Someone has to take you… and clothe you… and provide for you… and meet your needs.
Jesus commanded us to take care of the poor. But is one meal for one man enough? We were adopted as sons of God. Why do we not adopt those who are broken like we were? Can we bring a man into our home… and feed him… and clothe him? Why not?

Does this man truly need all of these things? Does he really made a new pair of clothes? Does he really need a meal every day? Does he really need communication with another human being? While we cannot provide all of these things for all of the homeless, we can fulfill their only true need with Christ. Christ pursued us, we should pursue them.

I was minding my own business downtown when a man approach me asking for change. He told me he just needed a little more money because the place down the street had a couple burgers for a couple of dollars. I asked him his name and I extended my hand as I told him mine. His name was Fabian. I knew there was a Chick-fil-a down the block, so I asked him if that would be alright. He said it would, but asked for the change to get those two burgers. I wanted to do everything that I could to restore this man’s humanity. I wanted to sit down at a table with this man and have a conversation. I figured everyone would stare, but it wasn’t about me… I wanted this man to feel like a man.
We entered the building complex and all eyes were on us. The security guard approached and followed us without saying anything. I tried asking about his kids… asking him where he was from… he would answer, but didn’t seem to want to converse. Chick-fil-a had closed early in the afternoon. There was a Subway in the same complex, so we headed that way with security right behind us. I approached the store just as they were closing. She said that she could make one last sandwich. As soon as I turned around, Fabian wasn’t there. She asked me what I wanted… and I thought about what Fabian would want on his sandwich. I didn’t want to get anything he didn’t like. Then I remembered… This man does not have a guaranteed meal. He doesn’t get to pick and choose his bread, his cheese, or his condiments. I got him some food and figured he must have gone outside because security was following him. I quickly went out to find him and after walking around the block several times… I couldn’t. I finally made my way to my car. What was God’s purpose in me leading a homeless man to buy food, only to lose the homeless man? I began to try to navigate one way streets yet stay within the same area. I didn’t know where he was and I prayed that God would please let me find Fabian to give him this food. I began to think that maybe the food was not as important as the pursuit of him to give him the food. Sure enough as I turned down a one way street there was Fabian. I immediately pulled the car over and he saw me through the window. He came walking towards me and I got out. He really didn’t have much desire to have a conversation. I gave him the food and he could barely hold it with his fist full of pennies and dimes. I got him a bag and put the food in it and had to talk to him. I didn’t want him to get away without mentioning Jesus. I asked him what he needed as I looked him up and down for the very first time. His shoes had no laces and were falling apart. I insisted that he take mine. He didn’t want to but said he could take 20 dollars to go buy them wholesale. I again asked him what he needed. I just wanted to meet a need. He said he did need some shoes. I told him about Jesus and how he told us to provide for those in need. He needed shoes, so I wanted him to have mine. I asked him where I could find him again and he pointed in the direction of a bench. He said he sits there during the day until it’s time to go sleep on the ground. I told him I would come find him again. I left wanting to adopt this man. Wanting to give him a bath… give him clothes… give him life. All I did was provide a meal and mention the name of Jesus. Does man need more than food… more than clothes… more than a house? This man’s life on earth will end and he needs the saving power of Jesus Christ. He needs the adoption of Jesus Christ… where every need will be met.




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