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Wash and Worship I: It’s All About Realationships!

November 14, 2012

Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech,

“How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? (Proverbs 1:20)

Hello All,

I know I’ve mentioned this before but I thought I’d give a more thorough description in response to some beautiful and amazingly thoughtful comments that I received here on my alderman post. I’ve also had several people ask me about how things are going so this will serve as a mass update as well.

I’ve always had respect for homeless people, but the fact is I didn’t pay much attention to them. That was until GOD proved to me that He was real in Nashville. When I got back, I felt like GOD was telling me to do more than just walk by. So I stopped and talked and started to form relationships with them. Soon after that I was telling my testimony and all the great things GOD was doing in my life everyday.

One day Tara and I were talking to a woman named Terry who was living in the park near our house. After talking to her for a bit, she asked if we would take her to church and we eagerly said yes. We figured we’d all get on the city bus and go to Willow Chicago as we normally did and then grab lunch and all come home. My normally for profit entrepreneurial brain all of the sudden became not for profit very quickly. I thought that if she had this need, that there must be others and I started thinking of systems for how we could help more people.

I’ve always felt that giving homeless people money does more harm than good. We’ve never given money to the friends we’ve made and I think that is the main reason we can call them friends. In most cases the second you give homeless people money, that is what the relationship focuses on for them from that point on. The genuineness of the relationship is gone. It’s not their fault, it’s human nature when you’re in such a horrible postion. I also realized that they didn’t really need money, they had very little problem hustling up what they needed. They also didn’t have a big need for food. The thing they needed most was compassion, love and someone to treat them like a human being. They needed autonomy, control and the feeling of being empowered. After that I also realized they needed their laundry done. I realized that keeping their cloths clean was very low on the totem pole for what they would spend their money one. So I thought what if Tara and I found a Laundromat, paid for their machines and detergent, brought some food and just kept forming deeper and deeper connections with what were quickly becoming our friends.

Finding a Laundromat was no easy task after a lifetime of despising Laundromats and only having been inside maybe two in my whole life. When I first started the search I couldn’t remember seeing one anywhere in the city, ever, they were so off my radar. Once I found one, I drew up some flyers and started handing them out. Tara decided the best laundry day would be Saturday, so that we could remind them about church the next day. So on the same flyer we explained that they could have their laundry done every Saturday from 4-5Pm and then meet us at the city bus stop in front of our building at 8:30am on Sunday to go to church.

The first couple weeks there were anywhere from fifty to hundred people at both church and the Laundromat. It was amazing to see so many people fit in that little Laundromat… Ya I wish! Make that anywhere from one to four and almost always the same people. At first I was a little discouraged because I always want to do things big, efficient and effective. I soon realized through scripture and just getting to know GOD better that GOD isn’t about quick success and overnight riches or fulfillment. There is so much more glory (He only wants glory so that we know it’s Him and in turn trust Him more) in it for Him when something starts from nothing and becomes big. This can be seen in the starting of Willow Creek, Culver’s, Chik Fil A, Wal-Mart (I’m pretty sure since Walton died there isn’t very much Divinity going on here anymore) and many other divinely inspired start-ups.

I also quickly realized GOD’S silver lining in starting small. Tara and I could get to know each of them really well, really quickly and that is how you really help people. The connections are the most important aspect of this program. The camaraderie, love and warmth we show them and they show us in return, is more valuable than all the tangible things we could ever give them. Helping people is all about forming connections! Whether they’re homeless or elderly or kids, they’re human beings, not something you should or can just throw money at like a business, job or an employee. Your time is your most valuable commodity. Don’t ever “give back”, “do your part”, or allow your conscience or sense of helping be quenched by only giving money. The most effective help is done through relationships. It may not be relationships all the time or relationships with homeless people but we are meant to connect. For the Christians out there especially, if you’re not giving of your time for GOD’S work you’re not truly giving fully. Tithes are expected, like breathing, they’re not His work.

I think I can safely speak for Tara when I say this; the concept of sharing our time like this was impossible before the Holy Spirit came into our life and changed us from the inside out. We still both struggle with this but it’s like night and day from before. I’ve come to realize that no one has any room to complain about this world unless they’re willing to give their time to make it better. People have been giving money forever and look where we are. Real change will only come when people start living their life for Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to change the way they see themselves and this world. And for Christians or people who claim to be Christians, like Paul said “Faith Without Works Is Dead! James 2:26” and “works” isn’t just giving money!

To be continued here…

Here’s a picture of from right front around the table: Roland, Terry, Darrell, Scott, Ben, Me, Tara and Gerald with Lawrence behind the camera.

Don’t take my word for it! Research, Learn, Understand, Trust!

SUGGESTED INDEPENDENT RESEARCH:

A speech I Gave a Bit Back

Hard to Argue!

My Testimony

Proverbs 9:7-9

From → Society

3 Comments
  1. Tom Mertes permalink

    You’ve got it exactly right about money and relationships. One has so much more value over the other.

  2. Kim Traxinger permalink

    You and Tara are being the hands and feet of Jesus in such a real way!! What an encouragement and call to all of us to step up and do the same!! All for His glory!! Thanks for sharing!

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  1. Wash and Worship II: GOD Brings Help! « Truth Seeking

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