Love is On the Move
by Debbie Holloway, Crosswalk.com Contributor
“Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’” -Matthew 25:37-40
“On the corner of 5th Street / a homeless man needs to eat / down on the edge of town…”
-Leeland, “Love is On the Move”
Actually it was 14th Street. 14th and Cary.
I was driving slowly across the cobblestone of downtown Richmond, one block away from pulling into my parking garage before work. However, I noticed a new addition to my morning drive: a middle-aged man with sandy hair sitting on the corner, facing me. He was holding a cardboard sign which read “STUCK LIKE CHUCK.” I had never seen him there before. On my way to work this morning I had already passed a beat-up looking group of teenage boys hitch-hiking on the side of 95 south, so by now my maternal instincts were driving me crazy.
I specifically made sure that I made my way to the office via the man with the sign. Before I walked past him I stopped and asked, “Sir?” He looked up at me. His skin was very weathered and tan, but his eyes were electric blue. Almost shocking. “Do you need some food?” I asked.
He sort of looked down, as though thinking, Well, I can’t pay my bills with food… But he looked back up at me and hesitantly conceded, “It sure would help.” I gave him part of my lunch I had packed for the day, said “God bless you, sir,” and tried not to cry.
It’s so hard to translate Christ’s mandate to love the poor into modern, daily city life. What if I give someone money and they just go buy drugs or cigarettes? What if I help a hitchhiker and they put a gun to my head? How could my pitiful Tupperware container full of fruit possibly help a genuinely struggling man? But Christ made no bones about it: we at least have to try. Not just the important, desperate, convenient people. God’s empathy extends to “even the least of them” – He feels both their pain and their gratitude.
“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” –James 2:15
Intersecting Faith and Life
How can you be a powerful, physical force for God’s love? In your life, who are the poor, “the least,” that Christ would have you notice?