I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me...
I tell you the truth,
whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine,
you did for me.
Matthew 25:35-36 & 40
We signed up for Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
George struggled to adjust to a motel room as his home (long term arrangements were being pursued). Adjusting to sleeping in a bed, showering, using the toilet, and cleanliness did not come easily for George. The street had become his home. And though it was unsafe, he wanted to return to familiarity.
George battled demons (lies). He had a history of shame. At 18 he left his country of Hungary to avoid being enlisted in the military. He never saw his family again. This caused him much sadness. In addition he had been wounded shortly after arriving in the U.S., as a result he spent much of his adult life on crutches. The defeat caused him to seek comfort in alcohol.
George had become an outcast. His companions were loneliness and scorn.
The kids ( 3, 5 & 6) and I would arrive at his motel room with a meal, snacks, a bible, and EXPECTANCY.
We expected to see Jesus in George, and with George.
And we did.
As George sat to eat his meal, I'd read scripture, share my stories of battling lies, and coming into Truth. George received them. I saw the doors of grace opening in his dear life.
The gray walls of George's motel room were quickly being transformed into a gallery. As a handful of children poured their love for him out in displays of art.
Washing George's feet became part of our visits. His feet caused him much pain, and had scaled over, increasing his pain. Tenderness, Compassion, and Love were invited into his room with each washing. I was humbled (a gift as i was coming out of the most prideful season of my life).
Once we brought George to our home. We had visited him many times in his home, but knew hospitality meant inviting him into our lives as well. He sat with the kids and I as we home schooled. And then we put George gladly to work, cutting strawberries for his favorite dessert- strawberry shortcake (he was adorable with whipped cream in his beard).
On another outing (which resulted in ice cream sandwiches and driving through a car wash) We were listening to hymns when George started singing loudly and clearly-
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.
Before I met George I thought He was "the least of these," but during that season with George I discovered that I was the "least of these." I hadn't seen Jesus in ALL people, only in people that looked the part.
But George, a homeless man, was Jesus with skin on.
And Jesus was beautiful.
(George now lives in community, in a home for Senior Citizens,
where his physical, emotional, and medical needs are provide for).
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