Posted by: Matt Norton | February 18, 2009

Such a love for Christ that it leads to serving

On a normal Saturday at Jeff Street there are three staff working and maybe one or two volunteers.  It’s usually slow with 30 to 40 fewer guests than on a week day.  Sometimes we have churches come prepare a meal at 11:00 am for both residents and Day Shelter guests.  That is typically the most eventful part of the morning.

This past Saturday I assumed that the day would go the same, but boy was I wrong.  We had a small college group scheduled to come do some cleaning around Jeff Street and Kerry was going to take care of that.  We also had a group on for lunch and I would deal that, but usually that just means showing them the kitchen and letting them get to work.  I realized though, that the three of us staff were in for an unusual day when five folks from the lunch crew showed up at 8:00 am and said many more would soon arrive.

When everyone from both the lunch and cleaning crew got there around 9:00 am we had upwards of 45 volunteers on our hands; definitely a first time situation for us.  Kerry and I got to work finding tasks, doing orientation, supervising, and encouraging folks to interact with our guests and residents.  It was a crazy, non-stop, and exciting morning at Jeff Street.  It was great to have so many people coming to serve.

I really enjoyed that morning because it was a time to see Christians serving.  Many of the folks that day had never been to a homeless shelter.  It was a new opportunity, a time to put a face on the homeless and make them more than statistics.  It was a rubber hits the road sort of experience for many, I am sure.  They were letting their faith in Christ lead them to show compassion for the poor.  They got a small hint of what kingdom life looks like and what loving someone more than one’s self means.

I was blessed by being a part of it all. I was able to share some of my experience with them and they with me.  It was a great interaction where Christians were encouraged by one another’s love for Christ shown through their love for people.  Many of the volunteers said they planned to come back and I pray they do.  It is a joy to see others realizing how fulfilling it is to serve rather than to be served.

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