November 24, 2008

...Olivia...homeless and dirty...

We left church yesterday shoeless. Most everyone did...we were challenged to give our shoes to Soles4Souls and I had on the one pair that was comfortable...
Every Sunday I have an issue with the few pair of shoes I own and finding a matching pair...know what I mean?...and I'd asked Jef which one of the four pair I paraded in front of him would be the best for the outfit I had on.
...So, when I tossed those shoes into that huge box, I felt honored to share something that meant something to me.
The message was about who the helpless are and how Jesus said that when we give to the least of these, we're giving to Him...the series has been on 'being the change'...

Three weeks ago, I'd set aside a bunch of clothes to give the homeless people that live under the bridge in walking distance from our home. We'd driven over there yesterday afternoon and although there were blankets stuffed in the cracks, no one was around.

No opportunity...but Jesus, He has a way of arranging things.

I needed more bias tape for a project I'm doing, so last nite Caleb and I headed to Wal Mart.

There she was. Olivia. No teeth, dirty clothes and a 'not-so-nice aroma' about her...standing at the light with a cardboard sign.
No one behind me, I stopped despite the green light, and offered her the only dollar I had, and asked if she'd be interested in some clothes...her response was overwhelming: 'This is all I own'. Three weeks of holding clothes just for her!

I pulled into the Starbuck's parking lot and turned off the car...I gave her the clothes I thought would fit her, sandals, and when I finished, it was obvious that she'd need a ride 'home'-some good neighbors in this same area had picked her up, given her somewhere safer to lay her head at night instead of sleeping under the bridge. She told me that she'd been on the streets for three years. These kind people were helping her to get SSI in order to get her own place and she'd been with them for three months.

Yet, realizing her need for help drove her to carry a sign...

Do I beg like I should? Do I realize how helpless I really am? This question has been visually gripping me since yesterday...
"...Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
The kingdom is mine...not when I think I don't need anything, tho...

Do I realize :
Rev. 3:17-19 (NLT) You say, 'I am rich. I have everything I want. I don't need a thing!' And you don't realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. And also buy white garments so you will not be shamed by your nakedness. And buy ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love. Be diligent and turn from your indifference."

Jesus, thank you for refining me and making my faith more precious than gold. Thank you for correcting, disciplining me, turning me from indifference and giving me an opportunity to love you by loving the least of these.

What a privilege to pray for her and for Caleb to see love in action...she asked if she could hug me and then if we could take her to church with us!

When I dropped her off with her bag full of new things, she thanked me over and over again.

It was Olivia that gave to us.

There are opportunities all around...give me eyes, Father, to not ever miss another one.

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