Posted by: Aaron Padgett | July 5, 2008

July 2008 Newlsetter – Giving Back

Every time a faithful servant serves a brother that’s in need
What happens at that moment is a miracle indeed
As they look to one another in an instant it is clear
Only Jesus is visible for they’ve both disappeared
– Michael Card

Dear family, friends, and church community,

Wow. I’m just over a month into my stay in Louisville with HOPE now, but it seems like it’s been more like a year. And that is a very good thing. I am growing so much to love my team, the people I encounter here on a daily basis, and the ministry at Jeff Street. Every day I am privileged to see God moving in the lives of some broken people and be a part of their journey.

Before I got here, though, I didn’t really give much consideration to how much God might move me. I didn’t think about how much the homeless would impact my life. I didn’t think that I would slowly realize how selfish I can be. I never thought too much about how broken I am. I find myself being convicted of my own self-centeredness all the time and being a part of HOPE is making me look at life with new eyes.

HOPE is turning out to be a very fun, exciting, hard, and testing experience. Daily life around here can get stressful at times, and adapting to this new lifestyle was and still is quite challenging. But still there are times when God shines brightly through all my confusion and uncertainty. And usually when this happens, it’s the smallest things that make me realize it…

One morning last week I was serving in the day shelter, feeling pretty stressed out for one reason or another. I was in quite the cranky mood and it really wasn’t taking much to annoy me. I realized that the coffee pot that was in the cafeteria where the homeless people rest and eat breakfast was empty. So I put a new, full pot on a cart and wheeled it around the corner to replace the empty one. I was just getting ready to put the new coffee pot in place of the old one when suddenly a homeless friend of mine, who I’ll call Sam, ran up to me out of nowhere. He reached for the heavy coffee pot to lift it and put it on the counter so I didn’t have to. He kept offering me help but I kept saying, “No, that’s ok. Thanks anyway, Sam, but I got it.” After we went back and forth for a moment he said something that blew me away. He said “I gotta give back! I can’t just keep receiving.”

I gotta give back.

I can’t just keep receiving.

When he said this, I stood there dumbfounded for a minute. My stupid, immature crankiness went away and I thought to myself, “Whoa. This guy really gets it. He understands what service is about. He really gets it.”

I immediately wrote down what he said because I didn’t want to forget it. That phrase went back and forth in my mind all that day. After thinking about it, I realized that my friend Sam reminded me of Jesus.

Jesus is to be served. We are to love him and give him all that we have for his glory. But still, Jesus lived as a servant. The King of everything put himself on a lowly level and washed his followers’ feet. He stopped on his way to Galilee to have a conversation with a prostitute woman that would normally have been a complete outcast to a Jew like himself. He always did things that just didn’t seem normal to most people.

Maybe that’s why Sam’s comment threw me off so much. I didn’t expect for someone that so desperately and obviously needs service to want to somehow find a way to serve me in return, even if it was just lifting up a heavy coffee pot so that I didn’t have to. I have been having interactions like this daily with people of all different backgrounds that bring me closer and closer to understanding the gospel.

Thank you for the support and encouragement that I have received through your prayers and financial investments. You play a large role in making it possible for me to be here this summer to be involved with this ministry and learn so much. I’m excited to be able to bring my experiences home so that I can share them with you. If you are a person that prays, please pray that I will adopt the same attitude that my homeless friend Sam showed me on how to be a servant.

Oh and remember, I love to get mail!

In peace,

Aaron Padgett


    “Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious;
    Give of thy wealth to speed them on their way;
    Pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious;
    And all thou spendest Jesus will repay.”
    By Mary Ann Thomson

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