I met a homeless man named John outside Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Los Angeles today. I kept hoping I’d run into him again before I head back east on tour. And as we were walking to dinner a few hours later, I saw him in the distance.
“Headed out to somewhere fancy?”
“Yeah... we're just going to dinner. Do you need anything?”
I’ve started asking homeless people this question whenever I can. Just asking them what they need before they have to humble themselves to ask yet another person who will probably deny them — it makes all the difference in the way they feel about their value to God and to others.
And I’ve noticed that they will very rarely ask for money, even though they definitely need money. More often, they will ask for things like prayer, a ride to church, food, socks, blankets. My friend Mike back home wants me to help him find a job, so I’ve been making phone calls on his behalf. He doesn’t have a phone. If he calls from a pay phone, he can’t give them that number to reply to. And it doesn’t bolster his reputation with a potential employer if they have to leave a message for him at a shelter.
These gestures are tiny little things for most of us. SO TINY. It shocks me how nearly effortless it is to love people in ways that can alter the entire course of their lives. All it takes is a little bit of attention. It doesn’t even feel like dying to self — it feels like coming alive.
I’m done wasting joy on myself. I’m also done sharing it only with my peers. It surprises me how much He has given me such a passion for taking Him literally when He talks about the party in Luke 14:12-24. And it surprises me even more that it doesn’t even feel like charity… it actually feels like a party.
I find myself missing my homeless friends back home as much as my friends who have roofs over their heads. And this is how I see His work in me. He is making all things new… including my heart.