By: Pastor Brad Noel
Being the hands and feet of Jesus is and can be very difficult. It is a call to die to self and put others needs many time before yours. This past week I had the privilege along with a few of our fellow servants from SBC to go to serve the homeless and needy at the family resource center here in Truckee. While there at the center the Lord reminded me of his great compassion and love for even the lowest of lows, the outcast, dirty, lame and physical afflicted. There were people of His time that had leprosy, hemorrhages, poor, were blind and broken. I pray as I tell you about two individuals I encountered that He would stir your heart also to look beyond the physical and look to the soul. For you to see beyond yourselves and have the heart of Jesus in ministring to others, and allow God to use you to intervene in someones life. I encountered two individuals that I would like to share a little about them.
Man #1 This individual from the first sight of him looked like he just crawled out of a coal mine. Covered from head to toe in dirt a long gray mustache, skin that was wrinkly and weathered, missing most of teeth and just plain wore out. As I introduced myself to him and gave him some food, clothes and an opportunity to wash some clothes he began to open up and share. He stated he was on the “back end of 60 years old, living out of his truck up in the mountains between here and Reno, eating canned food and beans. and lastly his long time companion was an old Labrador that was sick and on his last leg.” He said he had been down on his luck for many years after having a successful ranch north of Truckee in which he employed many working hands until everything went belly up. My heart broke for the man as he shared. He seemed eternally grateful as we gave him a warm meal, some clothes and socks, some canned food. As he left for the day me and one other individual serving that day were able to bring the conversation to the Spiritual side in which I asked where was he at in knowing his creator. He was quite frank in saying that he did not believe in organized religion, which opened the door for me to say “I don’t believe in organized religion either, but I believed in a God who created him, loved him and knew his heart and more importantly that Jesus came, live, died and rose on behalf of me and him.” I asked to pursue truth, seek after God and he would reveal himself to him. He said he would think over these things. And before he left I asked him if we could pray for him in which he obliged. Reaching out my hand I asked him if I could place my hand on him while I prayed for him. He said “You don’t want to do that, I’m dirty and filthy!” I said of course I do and reached my hand on his shoulder and offered up a prayer of strength and that God would reveal himself to him in the coming days.
Man #2 The day was coming to an end and everyone that had come for assistance was leaving and we were about to vacuum, do the dishes, clean the toilets and wash the showers. As I was about to head to the bathroom I heard the shower turn on. I did not see anyone come in but assumed it was one of the guys that stopped in. Giving him about 15 mins or so to finish up I finally had to knock on the door to let him know I had to get in there and clean because it was time to close up shop. 5-10 min later he came out. As I introduced myself he mentioned to me that I he sprayed the shower down already and I did not need to clean it. I said thanks but I still have to go through and clean everything. Then he stated “I have open sores all over my feet, so I tried to clean up afterwards”. Now if you don’t know me I am a bit…ok a huge germ-a-phob. I cringed after he told me that. That is the last thing that I wanted to hear. I told him Im sorry to hear about his feet and asked if he was getting medical attention for it. He said he was trying but did not really want to tak about it. So I left it at that and he left. As he closed the door I contiplated in mind if I was going to clean the shower. Then the Lord reminded me that even Jesus reached out and touched the leper. He did not shun the woman with the hemorage. But reached out and had compassion. So I put on some gloves and cleaned the shower.
I tell you these stories not to toot my own horn, but to encourage you to look beyond the outward appearance. Look at the compassion that our Lord had and duplicate it. People are broken, tired, weary and in need of you to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Let’s get on His Mission, serve and share the good news. Matthew 5:16″Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
In His Service
Pastor Brad Noel