Posted by: Matt Norton | July 1, 2009

An Undeserved Meal

I was riding through Waterfront Park today on an outrageously overpriced, crazy looking four-seated bicycle with a friend (thank goodness I didn’t have to pay for it) and his kids when we pedaled past two guys from the Day Shelter.  As is my nature I greeted them and as is theirs they did the same and went above and beyond in their kindness.  They were cooking out at one of the grills at the park and they invited me to come over when I was done with the bike ride.

As we were riding I thought to myself that they probably assumed that I wouldn’t show up.  If they were thinking that it’s not far from the truth.  These two guys though nice are tough with fiery tempers.  I thought to myself that if I went over I wouldn’t have anyone else with me and things wouldn’t be as comfortable and easily escapable as they are at Jeff Street.  Then I wondered what we’d talk about, two street guys and some naïve white boy.  My flesh was telling me to stay comfortable and avoid difficult situations, but the spirit was telling me to trust God and love them concretely.

I ended up going over to see them and God came through again.  (when hasn’t he?)

When I got there we greeted each other again and they seemed happy to see me.  We sat down and shot the breeze for a few minutes and then one of them, John said that he was really glad I came. He said that it made his day and that I couldn’t understand how much it meant to him.  I then thought to myself how sad that is.  All I did was see some down and out friends and accept their invitation to dinner.  It took little effort on my part to show them that love.  I then thought back to how many times I am so quick to overlook loving people in such simple ways.  My fear and insecurities overtake me and I pass up opportunities to love.

If anyone should have been thankful it should’ve been me.  I should have been thanking them for their kindness and generosity.  They told me that they cook out all the time and they always make extra just in case someone at the park wants any. (it’s a huge park)  It was great to see their desire to give and love others.

I believe that those sorts of interactions are the ones that Jesus preferred.  He loved talking to those that society would fear to speak with and be real with: people that might act differently, have different lifestyles, ask awkward questions, challenge strong held stereotypes, hurt our reputation and pride, and make us hurt for them.

I pray that I am bold and don’t listen to my weak flesh but seek God and his good and perfect will for my life.

I love and appreciate all of you!

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