Friday, October 26, 2012

Soap, Chips, Veggies, & a Coke

Well, the other day I walked past Steve on my way to the gas station to get a cup of coffee.  I was going to say something to him, but he had headphones on and looked like he was resting.  So I tried to make eye contact and acknowledge him and then went and got my stuff.  On my way back, he was lying down with a cap drawn over his eyes.  Sleeping I guess...or so I thought.  I didn't want to bother him if he was sleeping, so I just went back to the office.

(Thinking about it now, it's kinda ridiculous.  I should've just said hi.  Anyway...)

I get back to the office and a little while after, Max says hey, I think Steve is still out there.  We should make him a plate of food.

(Great, right after I walk by the man, Max has this great idea...but often, I feel that's how God works in my life.)

So we get to it.

All we have in the fridge are some veggies...and I'm feeling a little embarrassed cause that's all we have to give.  And then I think to myself, "Why are you embarrassed?  He doesn't have anything to eat.  Something is better than nothing.  Right?"

So I get over that.

Max also gets some chips, soap, and a Coke.  Doesn't look like that pitiful of an offering anymore.

As we are walking out, we say a few short prayers.  We ask God to bless Steve.  We ask God for wisdom as to how to love Steve.

We get there and this is not a movie, so this picture also comes with smells and I can smell Steve.  Which makes it a little more difficult to be there.  He's lying down curled up, headphones on, with his cap still drawn over his eyes.  He's resting.  I'm ready to tell Max let's leave the plate and other stuff by him and let Steve rest, but before I can say anything, here's Max nudging Steve's arm...

Steve wakes up with a tired and confused look on his face.  But he gets up and acknowledges us. So we (re)introduce ourselves and give him our little gifts of soap, chips, veggies, & a coke.

We talk stories.

We hear how he tries to keep his area clean so the cops don't bust him or tell him to move.  We hear how he is still healing from a hip replacement.  We hear how other people steal his stuff like his blanket and soap...and as he mentions the soap, he looks at the big plastic bag full of hotel soap and shampoo and says how it was just what he needed. (Wow.)

We stay there for a little while longer and before we leave, we ask Steve if we can pray for him.  He says it's alright.  So we do.  We pray.  At the bus stop.  We pray for healing to come to his hip and to his ulcers.  We pray for God to provide for Steve.  We pray for God to bless Steve.  (Amen)  We shake hands and let him know that our office is around the corner if he needs any help.

Then Max and I head back.

As we do, I think about what just happened.  I think about what my plan for Steve was: to provide a few things, gain his trust, infuse a little hope into his life, pray that Steve comes to the Lord, gets off the streets, gets a place to stay, gets a job, comes to church and tells everyone how God changed his life!

But that wasn't God's plan.  Not that day anyway.  God's plan was for me to get to know Steve better.  God's plan was for me to see how grateful he was for those simple things.  My plan was for me to go and bless Steve and for me to teach him something about God, but God's plan was that Steve was going to teach me...about contentment...about being grateful...and about what we need to "survive".

If we think about it, what do we need?  Not that much.  But we stress, fight, and work so hard for things that really aren't that essential.

This is a difficult verse because of the culture most of us live in, but it comes to mind:

Proverbs 30:7-9 NIV
7“Two things I ask of you, Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
8Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God. thanks, God.
...and thanks, Steve.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Small things can still mean a lot...

So there's this guy outside of my office.  He's homeless.  His name is Steve.

I started talking with him a while back because of a message at church.  In the message, Pastor Mark shared the story of the Good Samaritan and challenged our view of who our neighbors are...challenged me.

So as a result of that, I've spoken with Steve a few times.  He's from Houston, Texas.  Not really sure how he got here.  But he has a cane and he's had hip replacement he walks with a limp...when he does walk.  He mostly stays at the bus stop outside my work.  He doesn't really like IHS or the other shelters.  He's slept at the bus stop outside my work and at the old Advertiser building on Kapiolani (among other places).

Recently, I've been walking by the stop and I kinda say hi as I go by and didn't really get an acknowledgement from him.  So believe it or not, I got offended. (Sheesh. I suck.) So for a little while I was thinking, "O, so you don't wanna say, 'hi'. Ok, I'm not gonna help you or get you stuff."

But as soon as I got that bad attitude, I could feel God say, "Jared, are you serious?!?! A homeless guy doesn't say, 'hi' to you and you're gonna act like this?  C'mon now" <---this is a paraphrase BTW

So of course I'm wrong.

Of course I am.

I know I am.

So I ask myself, how do I love this guy?  How do I care for this man?  How do I love/care for my neighbor as myself?

The next day I bought him a Gatorade. 

He was so stoked!

"Hot tamale!!! Thank you, thank you," he said.

Today, me and Max got to talk stories with Steve again and got to pray for him, too.   In doing that, it made me wonder about something...

How much is enough?  Tell you about that later.

But for now, if you wanna help someone out, it doesn't have to be a huge life changing thing.  It could be small...but still life changing thing. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fantasy Football

According to Matthew Berry, I had a terrible draft.

Maybe. Maybe not.

***The Black Unicorns*** in honor of the departed @1987Marty.  Go Cowboys!!!