Let me tell you about two men I know. Both men would profess to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Their independent journeys to find Christ are different but the destination is the same. The one man I know significantly better than the other man but let me tell you about them.
They were in a meeting together and the one man wore a button down collared shirt. The other man wore a faded tee shirt. One man wore jeans that had a hole in them by design. The other man wore jeans that had holes in them because they were worn. One man had well made shoes that matched his wardrobe. The other man had running shoes that had seen too many miles. When they were leaving to finish their respective days the one man put on his leather jacket and the other man slipped on a well-worn winter jacket.
One man walks to a lot of his destinations as he shares a vehicle with his wife. The other man drives in his newer model car and his wife drives in her own car. One man has a staff that works for him and the other man has a few co-workers working with him. One man has a curiosity about the inner city in which he lives. The other man has a passion for the people of the inner city in which he lives.
One man’s hands will touch drugs, puke, homeless people, weapons, dirt, empty bottles and backpacks in any given day. The other man’s hands will touch a laptop, iphone, ipad, books, bibles, office furniture and a personal coffee thermos on any given day.
One man’s hands will touch people in such a way as to be the hands and feet of Jesus. The other man will talk about the need to be the hands and feet of Jesus. One man will look into the face of one person at a time and tell them they are valuable and loved by God no matter what their circumstances might be. The other man will look at hundreds of people and remind them that because God loves them they need to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who don’t know that God loves them.
One man’s heart is broken by the brokenness he sees in the people he serves. The other man’s heart is broken by the hardness of the hearts of many of the people he serves. One man touches the poor day by day. The other man reads about the poor once in a while. One man knows the poor by name. The other man knows the rich by name. One man stops and has a conversation with the poorly dressed person on the street. The other man walks around and avoids the poorly dressed person on the street. One man fights for the welfare of the disadvantaged. The other man fights to keep what he already has.
One man read Matthew 25:40 and had no problems because he was doing good to the least of these. (“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”) The other man read those same words and shuddered wondering how he could explain the words in such a way so that they would not apply to him.
Two men living two lives in the same city serving the same God. Something has got to change. We must stop looking at the people who are actually serving the poor as the weird, oddballs who have a strange calling. We must come to recognize that God “calls” each and every one of us who dare to call ourselves followers of Christ to serve those less fortunate than ourselves.
These days as I look into my own spiritual mirror I do not like the image I see of myself. I do not like the image of the church I see. Something has got to change……in me. What about in you? I came across this prayer recently. Will you pray it with me? “Here we stand, Lord. Purify us. Here we kneel Lord, we lift you up. Here we lay, our faces down. Wreck us, Lord. And do a mighty work.”
May God do a mighty work in me…and in you.