A while ago I wrote about the “core” of a man (here).
The core is a complicated thing – and to slay a man – you attack part, or all, of the core.
Maybe the biggest part of the core to attack would be this:
Convince him he’s a failure, and is never going to succeed, and, if married, that he’s a terrible provider. That’s the core of a man.
It’s that core that makes this a hard post to write. It’s embarrassing. But I promised you way back in January that I’d drop all of my masks.
Truth is: I have some talent, some charm, education, a good heart…
I. Have. Faith.
But I’d be considered a miserable failure based on the above part of the core.
It kills me – it reduces me to a tear to admit that publicly.
I’ve always been kind of an expert at being underpaid. Then came the last 15 years – not having any real sleep for all of it – that didn’t help.
When you can’t say with any confidence that you can be at a job tomorrow – and if you are – that you’ll be any good…
that makes it difficult to hold a job.
The skills are there – but think of how your brain worked when you were pregnant – and then had your child – that infancy – and how little sleep you got. Think of your typical bad day.
That’s what my good day is like.
It’s just a thorn in the flesh.
It’s made me a better person.
And here’s something even harder to admit.
Oh, why am I writing this?
Won’t you all want to go away when you read it?
I was homeless for a year.
There, it’s said.
In the spring of that year I was in the Seminary Library and ran into my former pastor. I asked about his life, his family, his church, trying to keep the conversation on him. Because I knew the first question he’d ask would be “What have you been doing?”
I ran out of questions – and that question came.
I was honest.
I told him I was homeless.
“Well at least it’s warming up outside.”
End of conversation – as he walked away, wishing me well.
I understand now, exactly what James means, when he writes:
“If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?” (James 2:15,16)
Up ahead in the Book of James, he’ll tell us that faith without good works is useless. These two verses are a mini parable about just that thing…
So what’s the “so what?”
If there is a legitimate need I see, that I can help with, I can’t let it go unanswered. I think it’s why Our Lord was always healing everybody he met.
A simple, “I hope things get better” isn’t really enough.
If I can meet a need
I have to sincerely offer help,
and not just wish the person well.
if taken up on my offer to help,
give of myself cheerfully and not begrudgingly,
not doing it with an, “I can’t believe they took me up on that” attitude.
Makes you think huh?