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Posts Tagged ‘Homelessness’

I listened to the two young men talk about the events of the previous week. The lines of support versus the lines of protest that had formed outside of the Chick-fil-A restaurants across our nation. I knew one of the young men well. “Brent” is a good Christian man having just turned twenty and is working his way through college. The other one “Nick” a recent college grad about twenty-two, a new employee at my physical therapist’s. I have only met Nick a couple of times, but he also seems like a very nice, intelligent young man as well, and both of them have a great work ethic. 

A television on the wall was cued to the news, where they were still doing stories on the event that had begun as a challenge by the Arkansas governor to garner support for the company and it’s owner to believe as he wishes. As they both gazed at the television, the young newcomer Nick said “All of those Christians have no problem going out to buy chicken in support of this, but you sure don’t see them all at the homeless shelters in those numbers do you? I mean think about it, if all those Christians around the nation came out at once to help the homeless, and did it every day, there would be no homeless.”

I was enraged inside, I wanted to point my finger at him and tell him to stop judging the followers of Christ of the world, and where did he even get that just because those people were all in line, they were even all Christians? Are Christians the only ones who enjoy the food at Chick-fil-A? I think not. I wanted to refute him in every way I could, counting off the reasons why he was wrong to make such a statement, but in the end, I said nothing. I said nothing because I knew that what he said was right. Many of those in line “were” my brothers and sisters in Christ, and they were merely trying to support another brother in Christ who had made a bold statement in a politically correct world, and come under fire for it.

But I must also stop and consider the way I look at people who are in high positions, celebrities, politicians, Etc. who use their positions of authority as moxie to make a point. I don’t like it when celebrities use their status and considerable wealth to influence politicians by whispering in their ears, the Sarandon’s and Streisand’s, Turner’s and Trump’s. Therefore how can I say it is okay for someone on the Christian right to do one thing that I think is wrong for someone on the opposite to do. I think that if someone is good at being an actress, they should act, or an actor, the same. If someone is a great real estate investor, then that is what they should stick with, as well as a Christian brother who sells chicken. Am I saying that someone should not be bold when expressing ones beliefs? Not at all, I have no problem with what he said, I admire his willingness to stand up for his beliefs, but in doing so, flak is just something to be expected.

The thing that bothered me the most about what this young man Nick said was that I knew he spoke the truth. It made me wonder why he would think such things about us as Christians, had he been around people who were more talk than action? Had he been interested in becoming a Christian and been turned off by our hipocrisy? I knew deep down that what he said was correct though, we are eager to stand up and “tell” everyone what we believe. But haven’t we been doing that since the beginning of time, isn’t it time that we begin to “show” people what we believe by our actions instead?

I cannot speak for anyone else, only for myself. And although I actually like the chicken there (not a huge fan of the waffle fries though), I did not go out and buy chicken that day in support, I was working all day. I am also not much of a bandwagon guy either, preferring not to jump in and swim with the rest of the salmon just because it seems like the thing to do, every time I have done that I always seem to be eating a heaping helping of humble pie afterwards for one reason or other. But I “do” know that I could spend more time giving to those who have a need, and I do know that we as followers of Christ could make a “HUGE” impact on our world if we were to offer up time and money to those in need in the same way that we did in standing by the owner of this company and his right to express his belief in the biblical model for marriage.

There will always be controversy, there will always be platforms, and there will always be the poor as Jesus has said (Matthew 26:11). But our ministry is not one where we will win souls to Christ by standing on a street corner and preaching to those who pass us by, those days are mostly gone. Our ministry will best be seen by our love, kindness and generosity to those who are struggling through life. Nick, the young and idealistic man who recently began working with my physical therapist convicted me. He gave me a view of the Christian conglomerate through the eyes of the undecided, or possibly those who have even already rejected our way because of our willingness to wear our faith as a badge of “pride”, rather than to greet those in need with a washbasin and a towell (John 13:1-17).

So, does this convict you in the way that it does me? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with anyone who went out and supported this brother, but it shouldn’t be the foundation from which the world sees us as Christ followers. When they think of us, the lines at the Chick-fil-A should not represent what we stand for to them, but rather as servants of Jesus and those He referred to as “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40).

As always, may God bless and keep you!

JFT

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What is my most valuable worldly possession? Worldly rules out the soul, because the soul is an everlasting possession, and for the sake of this discussion, I am questioning what is of greatest personal importance here on this earth? Personal importance cuts out things like God and family, so now we are down to base things, base things we own and have control over. Of those, what is my most important?

Many would argue that if God and family were cut out, and you don’t own friends then the material goods we accumulate are of some importance, so yeah why not that? Or maybe a job, a career, or a hobby, but in the end, we know we only have limited control over that, so it is really not a possession either.

Okay, now it really comes down to only a couple of things then, your portfolio right, your net worth monetarily. Yes, many would consider that important, but many people would say there is something even more important than money in this world, and that is our time. For a long time I thought time was my most valuable worldly possession, far more valuable than money and possessions, because when people see a need, many times they are willing to throw money at it, but few will offer their time.

Time is indeed a very valuable commodity in the world today, and since the beginning of time, but I have discovered something that trumps time and tops the all time most valuable personal worldly possession list, and I found it in the most unlikely of places.

It is unseasonably cool in Phoenix, sweater weather for us as I get off work at five ten in the morning and head home. The thermometer in my truck reads 53 F as I drive home in the dark. I pass a place I have passed hundreds of times over the years, and as always, they are there. There is a small crowd gathered at the front door of the blood bank, waiting for it to open so that they may sell their blood.

I have driven by here when it was 25 F and there were fifteen people waiting in the dark to get in and offer up their blood for a price. I have heard many people say “they are drunks, wino’s, druggies, and they just need a fix, but I don’t believe that is always the case. Whether it is or not, it doesn’t make those people any less children of God because of a weakness they must feed. What do you have left when you no longer have any money, and nobody wants what time you have to offer them, you only have your blood, the life force that God gives us to power our own bodies. The fact that these people are here so early makes it clear to me that this is all that they have, they are down to their last possession, their only thing of worldly value, and they are selling it.

I wonder how many of them are here early, hoping to get paid and then hit the grocery quickly, getting back home before a child wakes so that the child doesn’t know they were ever without food. I wonder how many of them are here to make gas money for the week so that they can get to their jobs to pay the rest of their bills. I wonder how many of them are completely broken people who just want to have the comfort that one more swallow of warm liquid will provide, and the pain that will be erased with its numbness spreading over them again. I wonder as I drive by in my warm truck.

Jesus knew the value of blood; He knew the value of each drop as He felt it leaking from His multiple wounds. He knew it was a gift He had only so much of, and unlike those who sell their blood to make ends meet, He knew He would not live to replenish His supply again. I also feel if Jesus had been in my truck with me the other day, He would have told me to hang a u-turn, and we would have gone back and met them. We would have first stopped and picked up some warm donuts or bagels and then hung out with them for a while, because they were His people, they were His kindred; they were “the least of these”.

Blood saved God’s chosen at the Passover, blood sacrifices were always a pre-curser to atonement from sin, and Jesus blood is what makes it possible for a wretched soul like mine to enter into the lowest place in Heaven. So yes, I am grateful that Jesus gave His most valuable earthly possession that I might get to live with Him one day, to hear His voice, to ask Him questions, to receive His hug. For these things, I am grateful!

God Bless-JFT

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