“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
No home to call his own. Not even a bag to carry his stuff in. No stuff to put in a bag. Covered in sores. Swollen from sickness. Broken inside; broken outside. Struggling to make it through the next moment. Breath by breath, forkful by forkful, he ate his little meal while a couple of other men with no home to call their own sat and partook of their own meals. Who knew when any of them had last known any peace in their broken down lives. Banded like brothers, these strangers shared their simple meal – and loved in one of the most profound, tangible, humble ways I have ever seen. Oh, how afraid I am so much of this world has become too busy and self-consumed to consider let alone put such a raw, sincere, true love into practice.
“Would you like a Bible?” I asked the man with what turned out to be a life-threatening illness after chatting with him for a few minutes as I stood by his side. “I don’t have anything to carry it in.” The homeless man who sat on one side of him immediately cut in. “You can keep it in my bag,” he offered, pointing down to his little bag with what may well have been all his life’s possessions. I looked down at the bag. It was stuffed to full capacity, but I knew full well the man would make room for the other man’s Bible. Not only would he make room, but he would carry it for him.
At some point in the few minutes I spent with the three men, I was so overcome I grabbed the hands of the man with the Bible and the man with the bag and prayed my heart out with tears in my eyes and an ache so deep in my heart they would come to know and follow the Lord and be made whole by Him. But before I began to pray, I reached way over to the other side of the table and grabbed the third man’s hand as I held onto these precious men for dear life as though I could physically carry each of them straight into the arms of the Lord myself.
When I walked away, it was not their brokenness that moved me more than anything. It was the love of a homeless man for another homeless man in a world in which so many of us have our bags and houses and hearts and lives too stuffed to remember how simple, and necessary, it is to love. We throw a little money at someone in need, we drop off the clothes we’re tired of at the thrift shop, we toss a prayer around once in a while for somebody, before we rush back to the television set or our favorite restaurant or to enjoy our newest grandchild or take off on our next vacation, so quickly and conveniently forgetting we live in a world of dire need and need to stop hoarding the Lord’s blessings to ourselves. The homeless man who offered to make room in his bag for the other homeless man’s Bible was willing to be inconvenienced, willing to be uncomfortable, willing to sacrifice of his heart and the little he had. Yes, he was willing to love.