Jesus said, “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man doesn’t have a place to call his own.”
I love barbeque, in fact, I consider myself a connoisseur of this fine food. I have eaten at some of the best establishments on the planet, from Ridgewood in the Tri Cities in Tennessee, to Stutts Barbeque in Tulsa Oklahoma; I have eaten the best, and make a pretty good smoked barbeque myself.
I don’t know what it is about the food that I love so much, maybe part of it is being from the south, and maybe it is the work it takes going into good barbeque. I don’t know, bottom line, I know what I want for a last meal before I die. I pray I can eat that last meal and aren’t living on tubes or something. I have it planned out, a nice plate from Ridgewood, an order of their fries, slaw on the sandwich, and a glass of Cheerwine Soda.
While growing up I was homeless for a while. I would live from place to place, staying with friends, various relatives, and off and on for two years living in a YMCA transient center. I have always had a special place in my heart for people that are homeless; I don’t know why that is other than having gone through the experience myself.
Recently my love for barbeque and my appreciation and desire to serve the homeless crossed unexpected paths and I ended up learning a valuable lesson. While in Kansas City for a wrestling tournament I was speaking at, I decided to take my family to one of the famous establishments, Gates Barbeque. It was located near the Municipal Auditorium where I was speaking so I decided to give it a try. Now one of the things I have discovered about barbeque is there are various styles, some I love, and others I’m just not that crazy about. Personally I am a Tennessee style guy, using as a base of smoke, honey or sweetener of some type, and of course a good hickory flavoring. After paying for our meal at Gates, I found myself eating a style I just wasn’t that crazy about. I had just taken one bite of my food; my wife had one bite of her food, and my son, one bite of his. Frankly, we just were not that crazy about our food so we decided to get our $50 worth of barbeque, bagged it up and took it out to find some homeless people to share it with. It was a lot of food, and would easily feed 4 – 6 people with the serving size provided.
We begin to drive the streets of Kansas City asking a local police officer where the best place was to find some homeless people. After about thirty-five minutes of driving we finally found a man willing to take our food. He had a big smile on his face, thanked us and proceeded to get a few of his friends to enjoy a meal he normally wouldn’t have had the chance to enjoy.
This experience got me thinking, often times, we seem to provide for the homeless during certain holiday peeks, normally Thanksgiving and Christmas, while this is admirable, there are another 362 days a year at a minimum these people need food. Despite what some think, being homeless isn’t all that fun or easy, finding a safe place to sleep, finding food to eat, having a clean shower, and the list goes on. While it is easy for people to judge the homeless I wonder, if Jesus was here today, if he was living on the streets, how would he eat, how would others show him love? What would our response be to him? Would we be willing to feed him? Would we provide clothes for him? Would we ignore him as we walked by and saw him lying with his head on the concrete trying to get some sleep?
Despite what we think, despite how we act, we need to remember, Jesus has a special place for the poor and homeless because he walked in their shoes. It is one of the reasons he commands us to show love, feed the hungry, visit the sick, provide care for the helpless, and on and on. Let me be blunt, I know some of you may have worked in a homeless shelter, may have done some volunteer work for a holiday meal, but have you ever gone out, purchased a good meal and taken it to a homeless person. Have you ever gone and put someone up in a motel on a harsh night? If not, why not? What do you do with the verse where Jesus tells us, that what we have done for the least of these; it is as if we have done it personally for him?
Unfortunately, the poor, the homeless will always be with us. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t show love and provide love to these people. We need to remind ourselves that what we have done for the least of these, is as if we are doing it to and for Jesus. What are you willing to do this week to show Jesus you love him?
Thought for the day: How about going to a local restaurant, buying a few meals, and taking them to the homeless. Don’t preach, just say; “Here is some food in Jesus name, enjoy it.” While it is nice to help out on Thanksgiving and Christmas, don’t forget about the folks we can show love to the remainder of the year.
I like the song in this video. I like what these churches are doing under a street bridge three times a week even better.
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