Today’s serve was not for the faint of heart.
There is something in most human hearts that decides rain is bad and sunshine is good. There’s probably studies that show most people smiling when it’s sunny and frowning when it’s rainy. But here’s what probably no study shows:
When the weather is cold and rainy, people think primarily of the negative impacts that is having on others. Even in my position, it’s rare when my first though is how the weather is impacting homeless people. Or folks whose only transportation is a bike. The ones whose housing is a rickety shed or a condemned trailer. Or those with shoes barely held together, riddled with holes.
My first thought is usually about how the weather is negatively impacting me.
There are two things we’ve never done at the Storehouse: We’ve never delivered food to clients, and we’ve never offered transportation to or from our Storehouse.
I think it’s possible that heaven responds any time we set boundaries. When it’s about sin, involving ours or someone else’s, I think there’s a party in heaven. Like when a prodigal returns home. But when it’s a boundary with ourselves, about the limit of our goodness, our willingness to sacrifice, the point to which we can logically, or reasonably, bear another’s burden, well then I think sometimes a subtle giggle just resonates in the mansions and down those streets of gold.
And then, when we break our own boundaries, when we give, when we bear, when we sacrifice, give in, heaven just goes nuts. Hang the piñatas and tulle. The streamers go up. The band shows. The dancing starts. And the song is always the same.
God, you’re good, Jesus, you’re great, Holy Spirit, you’re sweet.
We were probably an hour into the serve when a female volunteer came to say she was taking an older, male client home. The rain was just in sheets, and he had more bags than he could probably carry.
“Mike, he asked me if I could, and I just didn’t feel like I could say no.”
So I went with them. He lives in a rough, potentially dangerous, neighborhood. But he isn’t either one, just a little feeble. He once lived in New Orleans. Then Katrina wreaked havoc on that entire region, and now he lives in Conway.
My first thought is rarely how the weather is negatively impacting others….
An hour later, I was approached by a male volunteer. “Mike, it’s a man and his little girl. They don’t live far from here, but they’ll get soaked. It won’t take me long.”
Later, I couldn’t find him. He’d done it again. And when he got back this time, he said he’d seen another client walking in the rain on his way back and picked him up too.
I think every Christ follower has their part. I lived most of my life in denial about my actual part, and made a whole lot of what was never my part my business. I had an opinion about much that had nothing to do with me.
While the widows and orphans went uncared for. At least by me.
And now I think that Christians who realize they’ve got a part simply cannot escape the continual wondering about what exactly is their part. I know I do, both personally, and in the Storehouse. How much do I give? When is enough? When do I set boundaries? When do I break them?
How do I justify doing for one, what I simply cannot do for everyone?
All this swirled in me as we served 86 People That Jesus Loves. There were several times when our waiting room was empty; then it wasn’t. So certain, were we, that we had finished the day, we began the post-serve counting of items, only to start over when more arrived.
We have a new window AC unit in our cold room thanks to a very giving volunteer. You know who you are. Thanks.
On two separate occasions last week, I got a call from a trucking company stating that delivery had been refused and asking if I wanted the items. My part is to say yes. So we received an entire pallet of beets in one gallon cans. Then a pallet of vegetarian beans, basically pork and beans without the pork, also in one gallon cans. A few of those left the pantry today, along with another 1200 pounds of food.
And that’s all because of you. You give to our clients through direct food donations, cash, and through Feed the Need. We give it to them, because you first gave it to us.
I prayed with folks more today than I usually do. Several were new to the Storehouse and they seemed to respond with surprise that someone would want to pray for them. They were all grateful.
We’ve just got to pray more for folks. It’s awkward, and vulnerable. But it’s how we demonstrate love that we say we have for others. I can’t imagine meeting someone new with my wife standing right there and me not introducing her. And I know it’s not the same, but in the Storehouse it kinda is.
“Hey, friend, when you’re finished shopping, can I take your hand and introduce you to Jesus….”
I am the Storehouse Director and get the privilege of writing about the people that Jesus loves.
Contact Mike Rush at firstname.lastname@example.org for all things "Volunteer".
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