I blame it on Jeff…no I blame it on Jen (Jen Hatmaker!)….and Jesus for that matter. At this point anyone whose name starts with a J may be in the cross fire. It all started with the dryness in my soul. I would lay awake at night and truly wonder—is this all there is? Meaning, I had a great life but it felt so empty.
Little things started to work on edges of my sanity like my kids not eating their supper and how they cringed back from their plates and claimed upset stomachs because there were carrots in the dish.
And then other things started to happen like being annoyed with others, I was floored by the über amounts friends were spending on garage doors while other friends were irritated that God forbid, the man serving their tea touched the inside of the cups or how I couldn’t really enjoy my first Husker Football Game. I sat among 91,000 people–all chanting for the Huskers and all talking about the amount of cash they dropped for the game..
Something wasn’t right….. Something was SO wrong with this picture and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until Jen, Jeff and Jesus got a hold of me (actually—they’ve had their claws in my for awhile but all the pieces fell neatly together).
Life turned upside down when I heard Jeff speak about the Invisible Poor and then it took a side-winding curve when I read Jen’s book, Interrupted but then I found myself flat on my back when Jesus slapped John 21:15 in my face (Jesus is gentle but I tend to be thickheaded).
Jesus said to feed his lambs (John 21:15) and yet 9,700 kids here in Nebraska (beef country where cows and corn outnumber people) don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Here I was thinking I was doing all God had called me to do: be a mother, a wife, a speaker and writer and yet he is telling me again, “Feed my lambs,” when I learned of the Invisible Poor.
I learned that while I lived on a modest income here in the US, half of the world population lives on less than $2.50 day while 13,700 children will die today from hunger….
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For 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, 36 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.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
Here I was waiting for God to put his plans into motion for me—my plans, the kind of plans where I ministered to moms, sang and danced and maybe gave a hug or two. Waiting for the next big house or the next nice car or even the next nice vacation isn’t what I wanted anymore. Instead, I yearn to be the hands and feet of Jesus, my heart is moved not only to minister to a mother’s heart but to feed those who are hungry, to warm those who are cold, to love those who are unlovable. The thought of standing before God one day and to hear him ask, “Heather, did you feed my lambs?” causes me to tremble. I don’t know about you but I’m ready to take God’s word literally and feed his sheep. What about YOU? What about involving your kids and teaching them to be Kingdom Builders this way?
And there are ways you and I both can feed his sheep:
Volunteer at a soup kitchen
This is the perfect way to involve your family. They will see the poor and needy and will literally be able to see the passage of Matthew come to life in front of their eyes. They will learn compassion and how to serve the poor with respect and passion.
Volunteer at a food pantry and take food to homes
Volunteer to either take food to homes of those who cannot make it to the food pantry or help organize the pantry.
Visit shut ins and senior homes
Often those in need are the loneliest. Take the time to hear their stories and to show their life–their voice has value.
Volunteer to do yard work for a single mom
Single moms are busy being both mom and dad to their children. Take time to mow her grass and do other yard work.
Donate your old and gently used belongings
Each child has a box in their rooms where gently used items of clothing, games, books and toys go. This box is either donated to a church or another charity who works with serving the poor.
Create a Casserole Drive
Often churches, soup kitchens, and shelters are in need of providing nutritious meals to persons who are hungry and/or homeless in the community. Gather your family or friends and cook several casseroles and take them to the appropriate place.
Don’t become like those we are surrounded by. Stay awake and stay aware of the growing problem of poverty in your community as well as world-wide.