Yesterday while we were out running errands we were driving through a shopping center and Tigist said, “Mom, there’s a man sleeping on the ground there!” Now, we live in a fairly nice neighborhood and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a homeless person just “lying on the ground” so I was kind of taken aback and said we’d continue onto the bank, but we’d drive back by on our way out and see if he was still there. Tigist then proceeded with questions about if he had a house, or a blanket, or any food. She was obviously very concerned for this man.
What an incredible teaching moment! While she unfolded the heart of God and gave me a picture of compassion, I had the opportunity to respond in showing both children what that could look like. After our jaunt to the bank we did drive back around and see a man sleeping on the ground just as Tigist had pointed out. In that moment I wrestled with a whole rush of fears and struggled with the desire to just drive away, rationalizing that he was asleep and we shouldn’t wake him up. But I couldn’t, I knew that the Holy Spirit wouldn’t allow me to just walk away. I’ve done that before. So we called Joshua who happened to work in the office building just across the street, and asked if he could walk over, talk with the man, and offer to buy him lunch. What a blessing!
While the kids and I drove home (we thought it best that Joshua have the first conversation with this man) Joshua was able to hear Danny’s story, buy him lunch and share Christ with him. When we got home Tigist said, “Mommy, will daddy give that man a house?” As I thought about this I was struck by her thoughtfulness, but also her faith and trust that we might just have the resources to give this man a house! (we don’t) But then she asked why someone hadn’t adopted him, like we had adopted her. This broke my heart. I can see her beginning to understand the significance of her adoption.
Later in the evening Danny gave Joshua a call and asked for a ride to the metro so that he could get back to the shelter in DC. Joshua picked him up and I packed a sandwich for his dinner. An hour later Joshua called and said he was on his way home, he had the opportunity to love on this man and enter his world and has arranged to bring him to church on Sunday.
I want situations like this to mark my days. I no longer want to pass by the needy around me, forget the orphan, avoid the widow. Lord, may this year be marked by loving my neighbor.
Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.
Matthew 25:37-40 “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? And the King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.””