I am sure many have read this story online, as it has been around for a while now, but I just felt God urging me to share it on my blog and hoping that it touches and opens hearts to those in need in this country.
A pastor transformed himself into a homeless man and came 30 minutes before worship to a church of 10,000 to greet those coming to attend that morning worship. Many looked at him with stares, dirty looks, and down their nose at him. He asked for change for food and no one gave him any. Only 3 people of the 7-10,000 came up to greet him and welcome him there. He went to sit up in the front row and the ushers ushered him to the back row. He sat and listened to the morning announcements and following that the ushers got up and excitedly (they were in on him dressing this way) introduced the congregation to their new pastor. They began to clap and the clapping soon stopped when the homeless man at the back got up and began to walk to the front and the congregation became quiet. He walked up to the microphone and paused for a moment and began to recite:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ ‘The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:35-45
After he recites these verses he looks towards the congregation and begins to tell them what he experienced before the service began and many were crying and many others hung their heads in shame. He then said to them, “Today I see a gathering of people, not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples. When will YOU decide to become disciples?” He then dismisses church until next week.
Our walk with Christ should be more than talk – it should be action and we should be the feet of Jesus on earth. More importantly we are not these people’s judge, but God calls us to help our brothers and sisters in Christ. Many think it will never, ever happen to them, but one can never be sure of that – countless people have experienced hardships that they never dreamed they would ever have to face or live through. God never promises life will be without problems, besides problems make one stronger, more humble, and keeps you closer to Christ. If everything went your way and you had no troubles you would have no need for a Savior!
When I was younger I read the novel by Charles Sheldon called “In His Steps.” It was based on sermons Sheldon gave to his congregation in Topeka, Kansas. In this book Rev. Henry Maxwell encounters a homeless man who challenges him to take seriously the imitation of Christ. It was a great read and one that makes you question the things you encounter in life and ask “What Would Jesus Do?”
The homeless pastor above gave his church members something to ponder the first week he was there and to question their walk in Christ. We are to be a light in this dark world, we are to reach out and help the less fortunate whether we think they deserve it or not and treat them as we would want to be treated.
I am presently experiencing a loss of my job, which happened back in December 2013, due to no fault of my own. I know if I did not have my family, who is helping me, that I could also find myself homeless and down and out. Did I deserve to be laid off – NO, but we live in a world where there are no guarantees and what was once a sure thing today may not be a sure thing tomorrow. Even people who find themselves fired do not often deserve it, employers in most states do not need a solid reason to send you packing and it can be as lame as not wearing the right color pantyhose to work or having the wrong view point – it may have nothing to do with your work performance and may have everything to do with their personal preferences of what they are wanting in an employee. That is the evil world we live in now days.
I doubt the majority of homeless, down on their luck people wished to be in the shoes they are in now or without their job. I doubt any of them love to go up to total strangers and beg for change to get a hot cup of coffee or a sandwich for lunch that day. Can you for a moment place yourself in the shoes of those who have less and think of how it feels to have no one to help you, no one to turn to for assistance when you find yourself without money or resources to pull yourself out of a pit?
America is a country God blessed for so many years and He has given it much and the land of plenty should never have had homeless or people down on their luck living within its borders. Could this be another reason God is judging this great nation?
This week when you encounter someone homeless or down on their luck – what can you do to make a difference in their life? What can you do to get out of your comfort zone and be a bright light in their dark world? Put yourself in their shoes and ask how you would want to be treated and What Would Jesus Do if He were here? It will make your life much richer to not question, but to do what you can for another – it can change your heart and life in ways you never imagined! 🙂