Blest Are We
Sara: Many times, I find it easy to complain – whether it’s because Gus decided not to sleep through the night, our snowy weather made getting out of the house impossible for several days, or if I simply don’t like what’s on my plate for dinner. However, this week, I’m working to be grateful for all God has blessed us with.
Recently, I spent an afternoon visiting a homeless shelter for men. This shelter specifically caters to chronic homeless men. These men are homeless because they are suffering from addictions and mental illness.
As our city continued to recover from several severe snow storms this past week, many men were taking advantage of the cold weather shelter, which offers a warm place to sleep, two meals a day, a shower, and laundry facilities. The complex also has long-term housing for those ready to live in a more structured environment.
As volunteers served the evening meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and dessert, I took some time to talk to the men. I discovered these men weren’t all that different from my family. Without the advantage of a great family growing up that taught me life and survival skills, my life could have had a very different path. Because of these men’s addictions and mental illnesses, things that seem like a small bump in the road for us are a huge mountain to them.
The faces and stories of these men have remained with me. As I smelled the stench on some of them, I realized Jesus must have had much in common with these men. Because he was poor, many people in his time overlooked him. Praying for these men and pondering how God is calling Justin and me to help the poor in our community, has made me realize just how much God has entrusted to Justin and me in caring for Gus. We aren’t just called to clothe and feed Gus. We’re also responsible for teaching Gus the skills he needs to thrive later in life. One staff member explained to me the skills they have to teach many of these men – including vacuuming, laundry, and many other household tasks we take for granted. These are just some of the things we will need to teach Gus before he leaves our care.
I also wonder how Justin and I can instill in Gus an appreciation for “the least of God’s people.” As single people, we had the availability to volunteer time to help the “untouchables” of our society. These days, volunteering time is much more difficult because Gus needs our attention. While I know it’s important to give funds to these organizations, this experience was a reminder that it’s important to “get our hands dirty” and not always let others do the work of ministering to others in serving our Lord in the sick and the poor.
One of my former colleagues told me about how her father, a butcher, would give meat to those who couldn’t afford it. Her father’s generosity and lesson stays with her to this day. Many times, Justin and I get so busy serving our family (and especially Gus!) that we forget that we are also called to see Christ in others.
As I went home, I realized just how lucky Justin and I are to have our “small” three bedroom house, three square meals (plus snacks!) each day, and money for entertainment and the occasional babysitter. God has certainly blessed us beyond what we even realize.
In the coming weeks, Justin and I will continue to ponder how we are called to help the less fortunate and serve our Lord in this small way.