Learning by Example

Every day, our travels in the city take us past group upon group of homeless individuals. After nearly 4 years, we are used to the sights and sounds of the inner city, but we never get used to the plight of these people who have no place to go, no place to sleep, no food to eat, no clean water to drink. It is a sad fact of New Orleans. There are over 10,000 homeless. There are over 60,000 homes that sit untouched, continuing to grow toxic mold, infested with every kind of rodent, insect, and disease imaginable. People, in an attempt to get out of the cold and rain, sleep in these abandoned homes, schools, and buildings.

It is difficult for a small family of 5 to swallow the hard fact that there is not a lot we can do to solve the enormous problem. It is even more difficult for us to understand how we can give out of our pockets and our hearts every. single. day, whereas others can blindly drive by and not bat an eye.

It is incredibly frustrating to me that we (our family) live on the campus of a tree lined, gated seminary that is populated with people that have come to this place to learn to minister. To learn to preach. To learn to serve.

And yet....very few actually serve.

Well, let me rephrase that. Very few actually serve others.

Perhaps they are learning by example.

Last month, a group of people toured Greece. They were on a trip that many had been on before. The seminary funded a good deal of it, although details are sketchy. I'm told that since this is considered a private institution that accepts no public funding, details are unavailable. But it is no secret here that only a chosen few go on these trips that are not publicized to the rest of the community.

And while they feasted on gyros and took scenic pictures with their new cameras, there were (and still are) needs here that go unnoticed, unaddressed, and uncared for. The man laying on a blanket in a puddle of rain and mud right across the street. The elderly woman waiting for the bus right outside our gate that hasn't eaten in 3 days because she had to buy her prescription. The children that have no heat in their homes who get cold at night.

One round trip ticket from New Orleans to Athens, Greece costs  around $1400, according to Expedia. Just one ticket. $1400 would pay for a heck of a lot of food, water, and blankets. It would pay someone's Entergy bill and allow their children to stay warm. It would pay for someone's prescriptions. It would pay for a taxi to take someone to the doctor.

My children have grown hearts that are as big as the superdome itself. They have turned down after school snacks in order to give food or money to someone that needed it. They recognize certain groups of homeless people and have asked aloud where I think someone is if they don't see him or her in their usual spot.

I'm so thankful for the journey God has brought our family on. I'm thankful that our love for others seems to have become ingrained in our children's hearts as well. I have seen glimpses of Jesus in the faces of my children each time they reach out to someone less fortunate. Every time they pray for "that man with the dog". Each time they say, "Mom, put your window down. I think that woman needs us."

One of my prayers for my children is that they will never, ever walk past someone in need. I pray that they will never not give their last $10 to someone. I pray that they will recognize the value and worth in every individual on the face of this planet. I pray that they would have the strength of character to do the right thing, no matter what.

No matter what.

"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Matthew 10:42
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3 comments:

Gretchen said...

Powerful words, friend. Thank you for the gentle reminder. What we do for "the least of these" we do for Him.

Jeff said...
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The Crash Test Dummy said...

That is so darn true. Thank for the reminder. I have always notice the dichotomy between preaching the word and living the word.

Your verifier says prove, which just goes to show that you are right on.

Thanks.