Sometimes, the most moving experiences in life are the unexpected ones. You walk up on them by chance, or do you?
One fall morning, my wife and I left our hotel room in downtown San Antonio, Texas and entered the elevator in search of coffee, while our youngest daughter slept. We sat on the couch in the downstairs lobby and drank our java. Strangers walked passed the window.
After coming to life, my wife noticed Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, across the street from Drury Inn & Suites, where we were staying. We got up and started walking in that direction. I wasn’t prepared for what I discovered.
Earlier in the week, we noticed homeless people scattered throughout the city as we walked the streets and took a boat ride on San Antonio’s Riverwalk. But, I didn’t expect to see “him” lying on a bench. There he was-bothering no one, covered up in a blanket.
I looked up and read the following plague:
I looked down again. Jesus’ eyes haunted me. The holes in his feet pierced my soul. Early morning tears of guilt didn’t ask if they could pool up my eyes. I didn’t move until I could talk. “Gina have you seen this?!” She walked over from the front door of the parish. We just stood and stared. I started remembering a lot of truths as we walked back across the street.
Jesus really was homeless. He left His home called heaven and came down here to offer us a spiritual home for our restless souls, so we would not be homeless.
Jesus said the following about Himself: “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:20, NLT)
Who hasn’t felt guilt for not doing enough for the poor, the needy, and the down and out.
When I give away cold bottles of water to men and women standing at a particular intersection in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I realize it’s a drop in the bucket. When I sent monthly checks for over a decade to Compassion International on behalf of the girl we supported in Bolivia, I sometimes felt like I was checking off a box. When I overheard the man talking on his phone at Chick Fil-A, begging relatives to send him money, because someone stole his wallet, I interrupted my supper and bought him a meal. Anyone could have done what I did.
The kicker is to not listen to lies like, “You are not making a dent in the ongoing problem of poverty.” It’s all about the motives of my heart and your heart. Who am I doing this for? The verse on the plague above the sculpture of Homeless Jesus says it all: “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matthew 25:40, NLT)
Who in your life is “spiritually homeless”?
pictures courtesy of “Nelson & his iPhone”