So, the other day I’m driving from Seattle back home and I stop at Granny’s house near Olympia. As I’m pulling up to the house the cell phone rings. I want to get inside and see Granny because it’s been a while, but I decide to answer the phone.
It’s an older disabled woman asking for help. Man! She’s looking for a place to live because her living situtaion isn’t good. I let her talk because I know that sometimes people just need someone to listen, but the whole time I’m thinking, “I have nothing for you, please get off the phone.” She mentions that no churches have been able to help her, she is really desperate, and that she is a Christian. And yet, she has no home church.
Well, I refer her to a resource and get off the phone, go see Granny, and I’m out. On the way home I was playing the conversation back in my head. That woman was so sad. She had no hope in her voice. She was crying much of the time. She gave out so much love and care to those who don’t normally get it over the course of her life (if her story was true and I think it was). Then the episode from Acts 3 came to mind. The lame man at the door of the Temple, who also has no hope, asks for money, and then two strangers look at him and say, “We don’t have any money, but what we do have we give to you. Here’s Jesus.”
I could have at least tried to give that woman Jesus. Even though she said she’d been baptized (twice), even though she probably would have waved it off and wanted something more practical, I didn’t even try because I wanted to go inside and see Granny. Here I’ve been encouraging folks in church to look for opportunities, divine appointments to share Jesus with people, and I totally miss one handed to me. So to that woman, and to the Holy Spirit, I apologize.
The thing is, even though people have huge practical needs, if they don’t have hope, what they have or don’t have doesn’t matter. Real hope only comes from Jesus. You can be homeless and have hope in Jesus, and be happier than someone who is rich and is hopeless. So, Mr. Stephens, your next appointment is ready…