I’m going to write the regular Thursday after-serve article, but there are really no words for what happened in the Storehouse today. We served 124 families that Jesus loves. Our old highest was 101. We’d been close several times before, but today was completely off the charts.
The day began for me when I drove by the entrance to bring this morning’s donated food around the back. I was surprised when my eyes filled with tears. It had been two weeks since we’d served, three since a daytime serve. There was a line of maybe 40 people already. A couple of wheelchairs and walkers were in the mix; several had brought their own chairs to sit while they waited. Obvious broken bodies; not so obvious broken hearts.
Like a taste or a fragrance that reminds you of something familiar, something you’ve missed, once it’s in your mouth, or nose, so it was, in my heart, seeing this line of people. These precious people that Jesus loves! Oh, how I love and cherish them. All of us who work in the Storehouse long to love others, and these are the people Jesus has given us on whom we can love, and listen to, and care for, and serve.
When the door opened, fifty people were already in line. We registered nearly another 25 in the next half-hour.
In my personal walk, I’ve been meditating on, and praying for, inner personal peace, you know, the kind that passes understanding. I want to reach the place that Paul had, when he said he’d finally become able to be content in whatever circumstances he found himself. And he wasn’t talking about circumstances like having to wait a couple extra minutes in the Kroger check-out line because somebody up front was paying in cash and needed to dig in the bottom of her purse for all those loose pennies.
This was a guy who survived a night in his life hanging onto boards that were once a part of his ship that had been wrecked. He’d been stoned to death, or the rock-hurling crowd thought so, twice in his life. And those are just the headlines; I mean, this guy had been through it.
And had learned to be content.
And that’s the quest I’m on. And yet, before eleven o’clock came, I was getting irritable, pitiful, short with people, and frustrated by our circumstances.
And so I started personal shopping. The Holy Spirit is enflamed when we draw near to something, or someone from which or whom we’d like to run. It was in helping others, person to person, that I was able to find my contentment again. There were a lot of people, I mean a lot, but when I was personal shopping, there was only one. And I remembered, yes, this is why I do this, why we all do this, to love and serve this one. One at a time.
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love is not arrogant.
Love is not rude.
Love does not insist on its own way.
Love is not irritable.
Love is not resentful.
I’ve read these verses from 1 Corinthians so many times. It’s nearly memorized. And I can tell you, because I have looked for myself, more than once, there is no phrase in the chapter which begins, “except when the circumstances….”
So, what does it look like to serve 124 clients in our Storehouse in one day? It looks a whole lot like serving one person 124 times. With the same dignity and compassion for each one.
Toward the end of our serving day, heartbreak settled on me because I knew our last dozen or so clients would only get to have frozen meat and Red Delicious apples from our cold food room. The sandwiches and pizza were all gone. Actually, everything else was gone; it was meat and apples.
The dry food room performed really well, although we had to restock heavily throughout the day. All told, another 372 items were added to the shelves during the serving day after we began.
I can’t say enough about our volunteers. They just kept on serving. We rarely had a backup at any point in the pantry today. In the last hour, they were exhausted, but no one could tell.
But the one I really can’t say enough about is Jesus. His Spirit was all over the place today, working in us all, tempering our interactions with the difficult clients and sweetening them with the precious ones.
But He also gave us the money to have air conditioning in our Storehouse today. He gave us billions of calories to give away to our clients. He brought volunteers to love and serve the folks who came for food. And He brought our clients.
He is at work in all we do at the Ministry Center, and the best is yet to come.
I am the Storehouse Director and get the privilege of writing about the people that Jesus loves.
Contact Mike Rush at email@example.com for all things "Volunteer".
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