And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
We recently had the opportunity to go to two local parks and pass out bags of food and other helpful items to the homeless. The school associated with our church had a penny drive and they used the money to buy the items for the bags and assembled them. We also had a young man who attends Freedom That Lasts do a food drive for his senior project, and he donated a couple of boxes of food items for us to pass out. We did a similar outreach last year and had assembled several bags and even had hot chocolate to share. We had big hopes leading up to the day, but had a very low turnout to help and we found very few at the people park, which was disappointing. We were sure hoping for a better experience this year.
The night before we were to go out, many people said they would be attending, and I tempered my excitement as plans do not always translate to execution. The next day, we showed up early and brought out two vans, just in case, and to my surprise, we had many that started to show up. I was excited by the turnout and we gathered up the supplies and headed out to the first park. We met more homeless people than usual and we were able to pass out several bags, food items and even some warm hats. I was encouraged by this as we set out to our next destination. We entered the other park and immediately saw a group of people as we pulled in to find a parking spot. This park is known for their homeless community but we did not see a whole lot of people there which confused me a bit. We were later told that the park had been cleared out which led to us not seeing as many people.
We continued our efforts and began to look for people in the adjoining areas and soon ran into some people whom we were able to give bags to. We continued on to the canal behind the park and found some people there as well, and I then received a call from my wife. She called and told me to save some food cans as she had connected with some people who were hungry and in need of food. I hurried to get over to where she was when God touched my heart, and I began to pray for the homeless we had encountered. I thought of this verse as I began to pray, and I imagined Jesus looking over the masses of people whom He had ministered unto and saw them as scattered sheep having no shepherd. I thought of my own plight and how lost and scattered I was before I came to Christ, and I remembered He had compassion on me. Tears streamed down my face as I thought of these whom we have the privilege of meeting from all walks of life, from young to old. I thought of those who chose to come out and those that had compassion on others.
The bags contained gospel tracts and an invitation to join us at our weekly Freedom That Lasts program. We tried to engage those we talked to and tell them of the good news of Jesus Christ. The people we met were grateful and appreciative. We met a man who was so hungry that he opened a can of food and began to consume it while we spoke with him. Although I am grateful for the penny drive, food drive and the opportunity to be a blessing to others with physical food, I pray that those who received these bags come to know of the Bread of Life and the eternal Water that quenches the thirst that plagues all of mankind. I pray we see some come to Freedom That Lasts, and I pray for all to find an eternal home.
Whom will you have compassion on? In whose life will you make a difference? Who do you work with that needs to be shown the compassion that has been shown to you? Will you make a difference in this world or will you live a shallow and empty life for yourself? Living for yourself is empty and unfulfilling, but giving yourself to God and allowing Him to work through you to serve others is a joy only He can give. Whose life will you touch this year? Will you have compassion on the lost souls you see everyday? May God help us to have compassion and make a difference for eternity, and may we have the same desire as our Lord that He is not willing that any should perish.