“Thank you, God, for your love, and mercy, and grace, and forgiveness.”
Unnamed homeless gentleman
Good morning, friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Mine was busy, busy, busy, but busy is better than lazy. Let’s keep it going and get to it!
The church I serve is part of a very large ministry in town that serves homeless persons during the winter. Smaller churches like mine sign up to provide the meal for one of the sites as many nights as possible. A group from my church fed one site Saturday night, 20 homeless gentlemen. One of the gentlemen is asked each night to offer a blessing for the meal; it was so this past Saturday. And as the gentleman prayed his first words were our quote for today, thanking God for the love, mercy, grace and forgiveness in his life. I was speechless.
Now, I don’t know what your faith perspective is and that’s not my point today. What clobbered me in the man’s prayer is the idea that a man will little or nothing material, who struggles daily for subsistence, and who faces every judgement society can throw at him can see through that cloud of negativity and see his life somehow as blessed. If he is on one end of life’s spectrum then you and I very likely are near the other end: every need met, most wants covered and few meaningful recriminations coming our way. We’ve always been taught to be “thankful” but why is it so hard to be “thankful” and “appreciative” when we live in abundance while a homeless gentleman can be all that and more in poverty?
Needless to say this brief interaction with this gentleman has infected me. He has provided my life with stark perspective and placed me in harsh relief. No one would choose to live like this gentleman, but everyone would be wise to think like he did Saturday evening. Leading up to the prayer I was a bit stressed about the amount of money I spent on the BBQ, a budget challenge for sure. But then this gentleman stripped me bare, reminding me of the million blessings I took for granted to be standing there, BBQ in hand. Perhaps we all need to be undone once in a while.
· What fog keeps you from seeing your blessings and feeling thankful and appreciative?
· What demons keep you in a sense of scarcity and from feeling abundant?
· What good has chasing abundance done you?
I often wonder about the lives of these gentlemen we feed each year but I doubt they wonder much about mine. My life is all around them; they can hardly escape the “me’s” of their world. My pity, frustration, impatience and avoidance only reveal the shallowness of my life. This gentleman’s prayer revealed a life I’ve never seen. Take a look, if you can, see how it reveals your own life. And have a wonderful week.