EMPOWER INFLUENCE EDUCATE RESTORE
02/05/2016; 0715 hours
Who is your neighbor?
It was particularly a very cold winter night in Melbourne and it overflowed into a cold chilly windy morning. I prayed that morning for a warm day and 'commanded' the sun to come out bright and strong. I did not like winter.
I got off at the train station in North Richmond as I do each morning around seven, and this particular morning was no different as I made my way from the platform onto the tram stop. I was on my way to work, and as I proceeded to cross the road to catch a tram, I saw an elderly gentleman sleeping outside a charity store in the pile of donated items lying on the pavement. There were a lot of clothes and other items that the people left outside the store scattered all around him. I stood next to him as I had to cross the road to get to the tram stop. He was just lying there almost like a dead person.
He had a think white sheet over him and a tiny bit of his almost balded head with wisps of white hair was exposed. My hands were inside my pockets to keep warm and my scarf tightly around my neck and head. I had returned to Melbourne from Queensland only few months ago, so I was really feeling the cold. I could feel my toes inside my boots burning of cold.
I stood next to this homeless gentleman for a minute, staring at his sleeping figure under the sheet. I wanted to help but I didn't know what to do.
I moved slightly toward the crossing lights and waited for it to change but my eyes were on this gentleman. My mind was frantically thinking how I could help him. I thought of the good Samaritan in the Bible.
All shops were closed, as it was early morning. More people walked past him and no one looked twice. It was the usual hustle bustle of the mid week morning. I could not move; it was like my feet were stuck. I thought of gathering all other clothes that were scattered around him and putting it over him to keep him warm but I did not do that.
The light changed and I could not move.
I saw more people walk past him as some crossed the road, no one even stopped to glace at him twice. I prayed, "oh Lord I don't know what to do, show me what must I do".
I thought of putting my coat over him, but I did not.
I had Milo in an insulated cup that I carry every morning with me but I did nothing.
I just stood and stared at this almost lifeless body sleeping under the discarded items on a very cold winter morning.
Finally, I blended in the crowd and like everyone else, I crossed the road to the tram stop. I kept looking across the road at this white bundle that laid there in the cold.
My tram jolted in front of me and I got in. I looked across the road as the tram took off, and saw people walked past him coming out of the train.
Life went on for many of us that day, but life stood still for one.
I could have been his Jesus that day.
I had a choice and I failed.
One opportunity God gave me to bless someone really in need and I did not grab it. I did nothing.
I had the power to bless him yet I chose to blend in the crowd.
I had the two fish and five loaves but I did not bring it to God.
I had the opportunity to plant a seed and I did not plant it. You can't expect an harvest without planting.
I thought of him all day. I thought of him being someone's son, perhaps a father, a husband. Perhaps a brother of someone and a friend. I imagined him young and vibrant once at the peak of his career or life. My heart filled with sadness. I could not get him out of my mind. I found myself staring blankly at the computer at work, my mind on the man lying on the cold pavement. He once had a job and a family. What could have happened for him to end up on the roadside.
We all are a few paychecks away from becoming homeless ourselves.
I was a nurse, yet I failed to care. I was ridden with guilt that day.
I realized that feeling sorry for someone was not enough without action.
What would Jesus have done? I found myself repenting many times that day, each time tears filled my eyes as I thought of his body lying in the cold winter wind while I was sitting in the heat of my office, sipping a hot beverage.
God has given us plenty, so that we could share with those in need. My little is someone's plenty. In this case I had plenty to give this gentleman. I had my coat, I had a cup of Milo and I had Jesus to give him, but I did NOTHING.
In the Bible it is clearly stated that if you fed a poor, clothed a homeless, provided for them in need, you are doing it to Jesus (Matthew 25: 31-46). Most times we think just by going to church twice on Sunday, Bible study once a week and prayer meeting once a week somehow makes us a Christian.
Yes, it is required of us to do all that, but there is more, and its giving. Not just giving of our tithes and offerings but the Bible also talks about giving of alms to the poor (Matthew 6: 1-4). Becoming Jesus hands and feet, and continuing the same work he was doing and much more because He has gone to be with the father leaving us to continue His work, (John 14: 12-14).
What work did Jesus talk about? Matthew 25:44, "Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was an hungry, and you gave me no meat, I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger, and you did not take me; I was naked, and you did not cloth me, I was sick, and in prison, and you visited me not".
"Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto you? Then shall He answered them, saying, Verily I say unto you, In as much as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal".
I was led to him and I failed him. I was supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus that day and I missed the opportunity that was handed to me to be a blessing.
How many times like this we miss the opportunities God gives us to be a blessing to others.
We always have something to give, something to bring to God in the house of God or outside in the streets which is His House Also.
His ministry, the real Jesus ministry is not in church, but out there, in the streets, in the market place, in the clubs and pubs, in the neighborhood and at work.
I hope my failure encourages us all, to know that we are Jesus to others, we are the Jesus they will see!