I joined several friends in preparing and serving food for over a hundred poor and homeless people in my city today. Well, actually the preparing has been going on for several weeks now. All the final preparations were made yesterday.
We had decided to make a Thanksgiving meal. So there was ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, bread, and several different types of cake. It felt so good to be able to brighten the lives of the people who stepped into line. Their eyes were huge and many came back to thank us for the meal.
Over and over we were asked the question, " What church are you guys from?" To which we would answer that we come from many churches and have decided to work together in serving. The gratitude was clear.
But today was just the the climax of all the hard work and planning we had been doing. None of us would have been able to accomplish this by ourselves. It had to be a group effort. All together there were about twelve of us. When food ran low there were friends waiting behind us with new batches ready to go.
And I can honestly say that this was the best way to start off a new year. I came close to tears several times when I looked at the faces that came to eat. Young and old, caucasian, hispanic, oriental, African American... all types of people. I wished I could help them more. I wished I could feed them every day but its just not possible.
And then I wondered if my helping in this way really made any difference. Most of the people who were in line will still need help for months or even years to come. How could my serving them this time make any difference?
And then I realized that it was wrong to think that way. Feeling like my service to others, no matter how big or small, was useless is a lie direct from hell. Satan wastes no time in discouraging us and trying to rob us of our joy when we use our time, money, and abilities for God. I had to pray tonight and ask God to carry my concerns and burdens for me. I had to fight for my joy. And then I found this promise from Him:
" He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done."
It was as if God was sitting beside me and speaking straight to my heart. For although I helped feed the financially poor God fed my poor spirit. Ultimately whatever happens to the people I served tonight is beyond my control. Their lives are in God's hands. But I count it a privilege to have been a tool He used today in bringing some hope and joy to people who were cold and hungry. I pray He can continue to use me this year.
How about you? How can you help people in your community? Don't be afraid to get involved if you've never done so before. It is never too late to start. But I must warn you, once you begin it can become addicting. :)
" He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Proverbs 14:31