If I was homeless... I would thoroughly enjoy it if you came by and fed me and my peers a nice meal while we all hung out under the bridge. I think it would be really cool if you actually sat down and joined me, and tried to find out a little more about my life. I'd love it if you weren't judgemental, but just accepted me for where I'm at right now and loved me like Jesus would.
If I was homeless... it would be a major joy to get my hair washed in a tub with warm water followed by a haircut by someone who's doing it just because she loves people.
If I was homeless... I think I'd be really confused about why you asked if I wanted my nails painted. I haven't had my nails painted since I got fired from my job this past summer and lost my house. Getting my nails painted would make me feel wonderful!
If I was homeless... I'd be so incredibly humbled if you got down on your knees and washed my feet with soapy water, and placed ,warm socks on them. I would be amazed at your efforts to serve me and treat me with dignity and respect. I would want to know more about why you love people this way, and why you are thanking God for bringing me into your life.
If I was homeless... I'd be feeling really cold outside at night right now, and sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is the warm blanket you gave me and the coat that someone from your church sent with you. Knowing that you are thinking about me, and saying a prayer for me like you promised you'd do makes me want to face another day.
If I was homeless... I'd want to know this Jesus that shines out through you and spills onto me. Maybe then being homeless wouldn't mean being hopeless.
For going on four months now, Mr Nice Guy and I, along with different friends each time, have gone to Portland, Oregon to minister to the homeless under the Burnside Bridge - with Bridgetown Ministries. I have struggled with how to "tell" people what we're doing - because I'm one of those "anti-tootmyownhorn" kind of people. I don't want to come across the wrong way, I guess, but the need to let you know that doing something as a individual CAN matter, has outweighed my feelings of wanting to stay behind the scenes. We are doing work that we feel really good about!
Our eyes have been opened, and a passion is burning to do something for "the least of these". Christmas gift-giving has taken on a whole new meaning in our family. When we go to Costco, we throw in an extra package or two of big, warm socks. We might make cookies, but we're really thinking about the time we took umpteen dozen cookies (made by my dear friend Peggy) to Portland with us, and helped a couple hundred people find chocolate chip happiness. It's all about a change in perspective. A perspective that I am very grateful I have the opportunity to participate in frequently.
This season, when everyone is making lists of things that they can do for others and contributions they can make to certain charities, just try to remember that the BEST thing you can do is to LOVE others as CHRIST LOVED US. No matter where your donations, your volunteer hours, or your random acts of kindness land - just make sure to include a gift tag that says "Love, Jesus!"