I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited me in… (Matthew 25:35, NIV).
For years, my neighbor Bobbie and I drove to the west side of Chicago on the second Saturday of each month to serve breakfast at the homeless shelter. One Saturday—after cooking three dozen jumbo eggs with plenty of cheese mixed in, along with hash browns, bacon, and countless bagels...and then serving them to about twenty women—I visited with one of the guests. She told me excitedly that she was on the list to get a subsidized apartment within the next two weeks, and that God had been blessing her over and over lately. She asked me how long we’d been volunteering there. When I told her about two years, she asked, “Why do you do it? What’s in it for you?”
I pondered that one. The Bible says we should care for those in need, and that when we do it’s as though we cared for Him. “For me, to be here serving breakfast...it's worship,” I told her. She nodded knowingly.
We talked about the value of living simply, whether you are in a shelter, a government-subsidized apartment, or a suburban tract house. She told me about losing her job and her apartment, and then ending up on the street, and about how God had led her to this shelter.
Sitting at the shelter, listening to a homeless woman teach me about God’s generosity, is like sitting at Jesus’ feet. When we feed the hungry, it’s as if we’re tending to Jesus Himself. To have a conversation with women I would not otherwise cross paths with—and to be surprisingly blessed by that conversation—brings me into God’s presence.
FAITH STEP: How might you begin to practice what Jesus has asked of us: to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, or take in the stranger?
Written by Keri Wyatt Kent