"For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore, I command you, you shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land." Deuteronomy 15:11
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. " Matthew 25:35
We are each His beautiful vessel, called to pour out the light and love of Christ; therefore, WE GO...
In July of 2017, our family moved to Sarasota, Florida. Within a few months, my heart was awakened to how many homeless people I saw as I drove around town. In the beginning, I felt like I had a brick in my stomach because I had such compassion for them and yet I didn't know what to do to help them. I was a little scared in their presence but drawn to them at the same time. I began praying about it and in December, the Lord's response to me was, "GO! KEEP IT SIMPLE, MAKE LITTLE BAGS, KEEP THEM IN YOUR CAR AND GIVE TO ANY PERSON IN NEED." And so I did....then a few days later in the stillness of the morning, God said, "SNACK N SMILE" and this "God idea" was born. In each brown paper bag, I put a bottled water, crackers n cheese, applesauce, granola bar, napkin, spoon, sanitizer wipe, smarties/mint and a hope card with a scripture verse. On one side I write, "Snack n Smile :)" and on the other side I write, "God loves you!"
Over the past year, there have been many opportunities to share these little brown bags. Our 6th grade Sunday school class made them. Our morning Bible study class made them. My husband and I have driven around and passed them out. But one morning, my small group decided to make 50 (10 bags each). While we were assembly them in our parish hall, a homeless man walked in. He sat down, made himself comfortable, (he had no shoes and it was cold that morning). We gave him coffee and a bagel and he just talked to us while we assembled. We prayed over him and then he left with a few Snack n Smile bags. This moment I will never forget, we had such confirmation right then and there that we were doing God's will! The Lord sent him to us so we could pour out our "vessel" of love over him. He left with a "God bless you ladies" and a big smile on his face AND we were blessed too!
Since December, God has really changed my heart and He has taught me so many things. Last week as I was praying over this post, God said, "SIMPLY SAID." And so I am keeping this simple, this is what I am to share.
-there will always be homeless or needy people in our world.
-they want acceptance, affection, appreciation, belonging, love, respect (just like we do)
-they want to be known, seen and understood (just like we do)
-we don't have to fix their situation but we CAN look them in the eyes, acknowledge them, smile warmly, provide them with water, a snack and God's Word in the present moment.
-the interaction we have with them is about connecting - Spirit to Spirit.
-with faith in Christ, we will be together with them in heaven; whole and without need.
I have had many "callings" in my life and at different chapters in my life. This one is simply the most recent in which I heard the command to GO and I obeyed. I also know I have had callings to GO in my life and I missed it, delayed it or chose to ignore it. Ouch! Do you know God always blesses us when we obey? I now have two homeIess friends that I can call by name, Ricky & Charlie.
Soul Sisters, God will continue to call us to GO. Many times we just have to take the first step and then He will show us the second step. Each day, I'm grateful for the people God puts in my path to give a Snack n Smile to and to share His love with those who need it.
For Further Reading - Deuteronomy 15:7, Proverbs 14:21, Proverbs 17:5, Proverbs 19:17, Luke 14:13, 1 John 3:17-18
Giving thanks and praise today for who You are! As each Soul Sister is called by You in their own unique way, I pray we will continue to listen and obey You. Your will is ultimately what we desire, help us to surrender to self and seek Your face always. Amen