Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Love in a box

This is an old post from Facebook...but thought it should go on here as well.

So as many of you know I work at a Rescue Mission. For those of you that don't know..well there you go. We are a homeless shelter and a drug, alcohol and recovery program for men. Well I could tell you stories for hours with how the Lord has spoken to me through the men and people I come in contact with. But I want to share with you something that happened today that the Lord spoke volumes through.

We accept donations of everything and anything at the Mission. This afternoon a man called and said that he had some men's clothing he wanted to bring by. So I got a phone call from the gentleman and he was asking where he could park. I described the lot to the man and told him I would meet him out there considering our transients were already lined up outside the door because it was take-in time and many people are scared or uncomfortable around those kind of individuals. So I meet the man and his wife outside at their vehicle. I become aware that the woman was weeping while she was helping with the many boxes and bags. Her husband proceeds to tell me that they'll hurry but "she's having a moment". I explain that it's completely ok and to take their time.

I learn that these are clothes of her father who has suddenly passed away. I watch this woman as she cries over each box and smells each garment which seems to bring on more memories for her before she passes a box on to one of the men in our program for him to carry inside and store in the closet. It's very clear that she was close to her father and that he had a huge impact in who she is.

I took that back with me to my office as the Lord began speaking to me. How much do we love the Lord that we want to take His smell and each different smell brings back so many memories of what He has brought us from or what He's done in our life that it brings strong emotions to the surface? Do we simply have a platonic relationship with Christ that has no growth therefore that is the reason we don't see the need nor the opportunities to share His pure, sacrificial love with others?

This takes me to my second observation. As we would unload the vehicle with the huge pile of clothes the men waiting in line outside to check in for the evening would watch intensely and their eyes would follow each box as it went up the stairs past them into the closet. It made me think about how it represented their longing for love, for someone to show them the Love of Christ. Their longing showed on their faces as though what was held in those boxes could solve all their problems. There were clean, fresh smelling, stainless, dry clothes as opposed to the clothes they are wearing. Those clothes are dirty, severely stained literally disgusting. We hold what they need in those boxes.

We have what they need in our lives...why do we hoard it? Why do we find it so hard to show the Love of Christ to others? Christ daily presents opportunities and yet we say we don't have time or it makes us uncomfortable. I mean Lord, please don't make us uncomfortable we all know that's the last thing He wants. Get over ourselves!!!

I believe we are missing out on so much because we're either selfish or we don't want to be uncomfortable with comfort. Please tell me where it says in Scripture that God wants our lives to be easy breezy cheesy!!
Please don't think I'm pointing fingers at anyone...if anything I am so convicted that I'm calling myself out. I just felt extremely convicted to share. I pray you seize every opportunity and don't miss out on the blessings Christ has for you just because it's not ordinary.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


“3He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

6All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.”
~ Isaiah 53:3-7

We have this rule at the Mission that any man who checks in for shelter for the evening is only allowed one bag. Most of the time our clients are very compliant with that rule, other times not so much. Many times when check-in begins, I find myself sitting in the Chaplains’ office waiting for volunteers. They have two windows that face out into the chapel which also allow you to see into the foyer so they can keep an eye on the check-in process. I was sitting there one day watching the men checking in just waiting for my volunteer. This young man came in, probably the same age as me, maybe 1-2 years older. He was about my height, skin was very weathered by the sun, and his hair was so damaged and knotted that Pantene wouldn’t have accepted the challenge. What was interesting about this man was what he carried though. I watched him walk to the front desk all hunched over straining from the weight under his bag. I am not stretching the truth, nor being sarcastic as I tell you the size of this bag. It was about 4-4 ½ feet tall and 3-3 ½ feet wide. It was very obvious that he had stuffed bags into this one bag, but he was following the “one bag” policy and that was all that mattered.

As he handed the bag over to the front desk man, you could tell how he became relaxed. He no longer had to lug around all that extra baggage. It took him about 30 seconds or so to stand up straight but once he did he could walk freely and comfortably. Over the next week as I couldn’t get that image out of my head, the Lord began to speak to my heart concerning this man.
Aren’t we like that man? We have all this baggage and we think if we can all stuff it away and conceal it that others won’t notice and that we can “have it under control”. However, the Lord calls us to Himself and tells us that He will carry our burdens. We are to lay them at His feet and not pick them back up. So we come. We hear from Him and listen to Him declare His love over our lives and realize He knows us and has our best in mind. We lay our baggage down at His feet. The weight and burden is gone. We stand up straight. We can stand upright before Him. We can raise our hands in praise giving Him glory and honor for His love and His salvation. We can walk and run beside Him without having to worry about our baggage. It’s no longer a heavy concern on our minds. Doesn’t this sound wonderful?

However, just like that man who picked up his heavy bag before he left the next morning, so many times we decide we want to handle our problems, our situations and heavy baggage, so we pick it back up. Once again we are weighed down by the worry, fears, doubt, sins, concern of how others will view us, issues with trust, selfishness…..the list goes on and on. We become hindered once more in our walk with the Lord. We become trapped due to the lies we have believed from the enemy.

When will we learn? How much physical and emotional damage will we cause ourselves because we carry this huge weight on our backs? The Lord says to come. All who are thirsty, come. He is enough to handle our “problems”. We can trust Him because He already knows our “secrets”. He isn’t surprised by the amount of baggage we come with. He loves us still. Totally. Without any reservation. All of us. Every nook and cranny of our lives. Who we were in the past and who we will become in the future. He loves me.

1 "Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.” ~ Isaiah 55:1-3