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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

In A Blink of An Eye

“For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” ~ Matthew 25:42-43 (ESV)

When I worked at the church office, many people stopped by to request help. Help for food or for shelter. Some days it was really bad, especially during the summer months. Most of the time I felt compassion, but some days I was ‘bothered’. Before you get upset, let me explain where the ‘bother’ comes in…I didn’t know when people were lying to me. Did they really need the money/food voucher to buy baby-formula or were they looking to get the next bottle of gin. Yes it happened that those vouchers were ‘converted’ to alcohol or even drugs…

The other day I was thinking back to the days when I was short--I had no time to be ‘bothered’ with the needs of others. Did I ever take the time to truly listen to their stories? Why were they on the street? Why don’t they have a job to pay for food or rent? I have to admit that I only listen to the ones that had children. It broke my heart having a family standing in the church office begging for money.

But what about the transit that stopped in? Yes, he might have smelled bad, but I am sure he was not always a transit. I am certain at one point he had family—he had a house and job. To tell you the truth, I wish I would have asked him why he was living on the street. He might have been a veteran who never found his way back into society. He might have been really sick—couldn’t pay the medical bills. So now he has to leave on the streets because they took his home and family. I will never know since I never ask to hear his story.

How about the young woman who was a drug addict? Why was she so broken deep down inside? Why did I never ask her to tell me her story? I am certain that she experienced something terrible in her life—her way ‘out’ were drugs…
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” ~ Matthew 25:35-36 (ESV)

Some days I forget how much my Lord has blessed me. I never had to go hungry, I never had to sleep under the stars (except by choice); I have always been healthy. I have to realize thought that all this can change in a blink of an eye…

“Lord of Heaven and Earth. I am asking You today to open my heart to the needy. Open my ears to hear their story. Help my to show compassion as You have shown me. Lord, I know that You have blessed me beyond words. Thank you, Lord…In the precious name of Jesus ~ Amen.



You can also find me at my personal blog Sting My Heart

This devotion was in part inspired by the song “The Twenty-First Time” by Monk & Neagle

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10 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

Beautiful Iris, I enjoyed this.

August 22, 2007 at 2:20 AM  
Blogger Terri @ In His Hands said...

It's hard to know what to do some times. I need to do more for the homeless. Thanks for the reminder!

August 22, 2007 at 6:44 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Love the song I was listenig to it the other day.
In the area we live in we don't often see people by the side of the road asking for money or under bridges.
When we go to Texas during the summer I see them at the lights and wonder about them. If I get a little close I try to slip something into there hand before the light changes. I wonder if it is a test from God to see what I'll do with what He has entrusted me with. I pray I pass the test and not become oblivious to what is around me.
Thanks Iris.

August 22, 2007 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

ahhh amen sister.
i have been listenning to a song by jason upton (words and music are on my blog) one line sings:
"Have you ever been distracted by the homeless?
Have you ever thrown your dollar with disgust?
Have you ever thought the great commission’s just too great a cost?
Have you ever played the fool?"

i'm wrestling with this right now. let us walk in love and truth....always.

shalom to you...

August 22, 2007 at 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Iris,

We can pass judgement so quickly. Never asking for the story.

Jesus would ask and I thank you for this reminder. I echo your words and prayer.

August 22, 2007 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

Iris...I feel what you are saying. When I worked at the denomination headquarters...located near the interstate...we had the same situations. I felt compassion with the first few...being new there and not understanding why everyone didn't just jump up and get money, clothes, food, etc. whatever they needed. Then I began noticing they would park on the opposite side of the building...they would "light-up" as they left the porch of our office and then leave (many times) in a new model car. One was even a sports car. So I began to feel somewhat hardened by this.
I do pray that when a GENUINE person in a REAL need crosses my path that I will be obedient to the voice of the Lord.
You blessed me with this Iris.

August 22, 2007 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

I tried commenting this morning but it did not cooperate =( but this was beautiful and a great reminder. Thanksgiving and Christmas are only around the corner and these are the people we need to focus on.

August 22, 2007 at 5:57 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

There are so many people out to get something for nothing these days that they have definitely made it harder for those that are legitimate in their need.

I have been confronted numerous times in front of the grocery store, walmart, gas station, etc. and often ask the Lord to let me be sensitive to those in genuine need.

Thanks for giving us something to think about.

August 22, 2007 at 10:47 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Wow!! Iris that was so beautiful. One of my favorite posts that you've written. You make a difference in my life with your heart of sincerity, and your constant reminders that we should be living our faith out toward others.

August 22, 2007 at 11:24 PM  
Blogger Chris @ Come to the Table said...

What a wonderful and beautiful reminder!

August 22, 2007 at 11:25 PM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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