I’m so excited to share today’s post! It was written by my life-long best friend–my momma. I’ve asked her to be a contributing author, as this is “notmyownblog”. Oh, and she has an actual name other than Momma, Debra Cole. Look for more info on her in the coming days on the About page. For now, she writes…
Sunday night, as I sat watching Secret Millionaire on ABC, God opened my eyes to the plight of the homeless in Mobile, Alabama. People like you and me whose life changed with one incident. Jobs, homes and families vanished due to the BP oil spill. Hard working, integrity filled lives were suddenly destroyed by something beyond their control. An overwhelming sense of what to do if I were in their shoes came over me; if suddenly I had no money to pay my bills, buy food or pay for the roof over my head. Then panic, realizing I’m not alone in this hardship but my children are there with me.
The average age of a homeless person in our country is 9 years old. This fact left me speechless… One man sleeping in a port-a-potty at night for safety… A fisherman on the verge of losing everything due to the sea life being destroyed by the oil spill.
I live in a bubble. Not just me but most of the people I know. Tucked into our warm beds, tummies full with four walls and a roof over our head. Never realizing we are all one incident away from the same peril.
One of the jobs the secret millionaire had was at a homeless shelter. Tears in his eyes he said, “These people aren’t asking for solutions, they just want someone to listen to them.”
So I ask myself, what can I do? We’ve all asked the same question at one time or another. Listening and helping doesn’t cost anything but time, something anyone can give regardless of our status in life. People in our community have needs. People living in fine homes with perfect yards have needs. It’s not just the ones standing on the corner with signs that need help but just maybe my next door neighbor, the single parent or the widow, when life suddenly, without any warning turns the opposite direction and we find ourselves in a place we never imagined.
Let’s step out of our bubble, trust God and simply listen with a helping heart and hand.
“I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit me…”
The cool thing about this post is that I had sort of the same thought on the same day as Momma, during Sunday morning worship service. It’s like we’re connected or something?! 😉 Our pastor made the point that we’ve all fantasized about what we’d do if we won the lottery–whether we’ll admit it or not. Hello! Hand raised! Steve and I have certainly done this! You know, imagined what we’d do if we were suddenly overcome with more money than Van Camp’s got beans? You know you’ve done it, too! We always say we’d give away a ton of it, and that’s the truth. We would! That’s not my point.
The point is, I will likely NEVER win the lottery (mostly because I don’t play it) and have the sudden ability to just give crazy-generously. So do I just NOT give because I can’t afford to? Or do I give what little money I have and then use my actions to make up the difference? I’m not referring to tithing here, but giving an offering, something above and beyond the first-fruits of my income. Possibly going into my closet or pantry and giving to a family or person in need; meeting up for coffee with a co-worker or neighbor who may be lonely; being available for a 2a.m. phone call from a desperate friend; looking the stranger on the corner in the eye with a warm smile and realizing he is human, too.
Truthfully, very few of us can or will ever be able to give like we fantasize we would, so we have to take action, put forth effort and work to make a difference. I believe scripture calls this serving one another. (Galatians 5:13) We, as God’s elect, cannot sit by in our need and want, waiting for “someone else” to do something–because in Christ we have “every grace and blessing, every spiritual gift and POWER for doing His will.” (1 Cor. 1:7)
So let’s stop saying, “I can’t,” or “I don’t have time,” or whatever. And. Just. Do. It.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13