When I said that I would post about my unexpected company once I had all the words together in my mind….I thought that I had learned my lesson. I was wrong. Apparently, God knew that I needed yet another lesson, and I have a feeling, much more growing and learning to do in this area.
For several years now, I have had the desire to start a soup kitchen in our area. Not just a place where we ladle out a hot meal into someone’s bowl, but where we can sit down and talk…connect…care…share….a place to live out the hope that Jesus offers us.
Recently, our small group from church has been talking about offering a soup supper to those in the area that need a warm meal…and an opportunity to connect with someone. I’ve been getting excited about this and making plans and what do you know? God tested my heart.
In the middle of a very busy evening (children had been sick, phone calls were coming in left and right, supper was running late and our son had to be at the school Spelling Bee in just a short time), a couple that we know came to our door, sharing that they were homeless and they had no other place to go. My husband came into the kitchen and explained the situation and then went into another room to call a deacon from our church.
I stood there at the stove and fumed. I actually prayed that they would hurry and leave. And this is how He answered.
“Nichole, how can you say you want to start a soup kitchen and serve those in need, when you can’t even serve those I send to your door? “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”
As I confessed my selfish heart to Him, I also thanked Him that I could actually do something about it still. So, I put on my bathrobe (did I mention that I was making supper in my pajamas because I had just showered?), went into the living room and by the grace of God invited them to stay and share our supper meal with us…with a sincere heart.
That was a few days ago. Last night while Chris was at parent-teacher meetings, I heard a knock at our door, and opened it to find our friends standing there, very cold. I invited them in, but my heart….my stubborn and selfish heart…was not Christ-like. (Can you believe it? After that amazing experience on Monday night? I am so saddened by my attitude.) We sat for a while and talked. They had been walking around the city all day long, trying to keep warm.
And as I saw their weariness, God began to soften my heart toward them. We talked about their recent past, their plans, their future…and God impressed on my heart the need to forgive, and give second chances. (After all, I am a recipient of His mercy, how can I not share the same?)
So, once again, convicted of my lack of love (in action), I made my way to the kitchen to make a warm meal for them. As I served them, I prayed that it would be speak to their hearts of God’s love, not simply to their physical bodies and their immediate needs. As they left that evening, I truly did care about what lay ahead for them, and I hope we see them again soon.
So, I begin this day…realizing that I have so much to learn, thankful that He gives me second chances…and He will continue making me the woman that He created me to be, and excited about the opportunities that He will bring into my life. I simply pray that I will take those opportunities and obey, with a whole heart, the first time.