If You Want to be Great

Tonight, I'll be doing something I really don't want to do, serving dinner in our local homeless shelter.

It says in the Bible that if we want to be great in God's kingdom, we need to learn to be a servant to all.  I am not seeking greatness here on earth or in heaven either, but I do want to do what is right in God's eyes, and that's why my husband and I will be at the shelter tonight.

Why does my stomach tighten up at the thought of doing this?  I don't mind cooking and bringing food.  I don't mind preparing their bag lunches for the next day in the well-equipped kitchen.  I don't mind setting out the food and preparing the tables for the buffet line.  I don't even mind the clean-up.

The hard part for me is talking to the people to whom we're serving dinner.  Believe me, I don't think I'm any better than they are.  Life takes so many unexpected twists and turns that all kinds of people end up homeless and hungry. I could be there just as easily as anyone else.

I think my problem is that I try to put myself in their place.  If I were living in a homeless shelter and had just spent another discouraging day looking for work and trying to provide for my children the best I could, I don't think I'd want well-meaning strangers talking to me, asking me my story, maybe offering me sympathy, suggestions, or counseling.

My questions to them would be, do you have a job for me?  Can you find me a home where my children and I can be safe?

But the people I'll be serving tonight might have very different thoughts than the thoughts I imagine they might have.  I can only imagine what I would think and feel.  They are living it.

I've been praying about this all day.  Praying that I would have the right words to say.  Words of sincerity and authenticity, compassion and strength.  I don't want to be great, but I would like to be a blessing.

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