I thought she was a homeless man when I first drove by – the camouflage pants, disheveled hair, over sized shirt. I turned the car around and pulled up to the curb in front of the grassy area she was sitting on and offered her my standard line, “Are ya hungry?”
It was when she spoke that I first realized she was a woman. “No.” I also noticed her bare feet, her sunburned face, and the layers of dirt on both.
“You sure?” I said. “I’ve got a $5.00 gift card here for you.”
“No. Thanks.” Her eyes were distant. She was leaning back on her hands barely moved by my inquiry.
I drove away incredulous. O.k., lady you don’t want my gift card you don’t need to take my gift card. I didn’t get too far away before my heart was convicted. Maybe she wasn’t hungry. Maybe someone else just fed her. What DID she need? Did I even think to ask her?
Being God’s “glove” in the world can be a wonderful experience… a “high” of sorts. Seeing His love flow through you and into the lives of others is an awesome, front-row experience of the divine. But, there is a great temptation to try to achieve that “high” on your own. Our human nature wants to take over and wrest these moments from God’s hands and into our own.
That’s what I did with this homeless woman. Instead of asking her what she needed, instead of tapping into what the Lord wanted to do for her that day, I gave her what I thought she needed. And when she didn’t need it or want it I stopped giving. Worse… I stopped loving her! Do you see how arrogant, short-sighted, and fickle our human nature can be? We’re not in charge of this loving business… and there’s a good reason for it!
God doesn’t need our help… He needs our will. His desire is to use us to effect and “infect” the world with HIS love. That means we need to get OUT OF THE WAY! Let Him love! Let His love flow through us and obediently respond to His direction. May you be challenged this week to give up your will for His and love a stranger the way He wants to love them.