Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hospitalized and Homeless - Part 2

Paul called the church yesterday and said that he was going to be released from the hospital later and didn't know what he was going to do. He had no place to go. He also said he needed some clothes.

Paul is a very skinny man. Kind of like me. I thought, "I've got some clothes I could give him that would probably fit". This was not hard for me in the least. I don't report this to pat myself on the back, but to show what it revealed to me: I have an abundance of things that I don't use.

What good does this do? A guy like Paul could use a clean pair of socks. He only has one. I have a whole sock drawer with probably 15 pairs that I never wear. I gave him a ton of socks. I gave him a couple pairs of pants (that I never wear) a bunch of shirts (that I never wear), some books (that I never read, and I knew he likes to read) and some other miscellaneous items that I thought he could use. I gave him $50 and told him not to spend it all on smokes. He said he wouldn't.

Except for the occasional mission trip, I guess the problem probably is that most us are like me and don't hang out with people who have real tangible needs. Thus we just don’t know anyone who could use all the stuff that we have lying around the house just taking up space.

The church paid for two nights in a hotel for him until he hears from the hospital the results of his biopsy, which won't be until Friday.

Paul was very thankful. I was thankful for the experience of being able to see Jesus in Paul and to question the abundance of my possessions.


Maren said...

Thanks for telling us about Paul and God gifting you with him. I need those Pauls to remind me of how needy I am before Him. If I could only give as He gave-my one and only and best.

Christopher Lake said...

Thanks for the update and the good, helpful thoughts, Z. Please continue to update us on Paul's physical condition, as you hear about it, so that we can pray for him and act to help him in other ways, if possible. It's wonderful, and very laudable, that you were able and willing to help him as you did-- a true testament to God's glory and to His grace, at work in your life.

I want to make sure that you know, regarding the questions that I asked on this subject at the group blog-- I emphatically believe that God's word calls us to minister to non-Christians. Both the principle and the call are very clear, as you mentioned in your original post, in the parable of the Good Samaritan. My questions are more about how the helping of many people in need, both within the church and outside of it, should be thought about and practically managed by the local church-- again, as an organizational entity. Obviously, we, as individual Christians in local churches, are called to minister to to non-Christians in all sorts of ways, but I am curious, as to what you and the other brothers on the group blog think about the local church's responsibilites, as an organization, to minister to non-believers (in ways other than direct eveangelism), and what the carrying out of those responsibilities should look like. Just wanted to clarify my questions.

See you tonight for the class, Lord willing!

jeremy said...

Have you contacted your local Salvation Army? Many of these locations have shelters or centers that help people have a place to stay while they try and get back on their feet.

If you have any other questions, let me know.

Robert Riley said...

This is very convicting.

Thank you for posting about what you've taken the opportunity to participate in.