On Saturday a homeless man came by one of the CommuniD BBQs. He asked not for food, but to be able to help on the grill for a few, then he had to go. Help he did and then he left.
A couple hours later he returned offering to buy a hamburger. I told him he can’t buy them, they’re free. He asked if I’d take a tip. I said no, but we accept donations. He pulled out his wallet and had $5 in singles. He handed me $4 and said, “I just need to keep one for myself. I thank God for what you guys are doing. Praise Jesus.”
Reminds me of this story: Mark 12:41-44 NIV
Last Saturday, at Elevate Detroit’s Detroit CommuniD BBQ, I spent the afternoon with a friend of mine. His name is Mike. Mike is extremely poor and almost homeless. I haven’t known Mike for long. We’ve been friends for only the last 2 months. In that time, I’ve learned he’s a father, grandpa and great grandpa. He and his wife are also followers of Jesus.
Mike asked me for bus fare. He said he needed $1.25 and that he’d “pay me back next week.” I happened to have 5 quarters in my car so I gave it to him. Mike’s wife asked me separately if I could bring him some new socks sometime.
Over the past week I posted on Facebook asking for donations for socks. Someone generously donated $50! So I went to Wal-Mart and bought as many socks as $50 would buy. We distributed all, but one package to people at today’s BBQ. I kept one package to give to Mike if I saw him.
About half way through Mike’s wife came over and said, “Mike is home today because he hurt himself, but he asked me to come and tell you he has something for you. Stop by and see him before you go.”
I went to Mike’s door at the end of the BBQ. I was greeted with a hearty hug and $2. (He had to remind me I’d given him any money.) I then handed him the package of socks (which he didn’t know his wife has asked for). What a fantastic thing!!
This is how we give through CommuniD BBQs! Not handouts to poor strangers or passersby… Sharing with friends as we’re able. There is such beauty in generosity! And as beautiful and awesome as it is for the relatively comfortable to share… It’s so much more beautiful when the poor are allowed to share too!!
Loaves and fish
This will probably be refined and expanded soon. Maybe into a full chapter. But these are just initial thoughts I wrote while driving away from a meeting.
Jesus didn’t seem to make a big deal out of food. It’s just something that was there. We all need to eat. We’re people. People need to eat and to eat we need food. Jesus encourages us not to worry about the food; not to pay attention to it. He points to the sparrows and says, “See, they don’t worry about food. You don’t need to either.”
When you look at the stories of the loaves and fish, the feeding of the 5000 or the 4000, you don’t see him telling people he’s going to make alot of food. He doesn’t advertise it. Only the disciples know a miracle is happening and they only know because of proximity. For Jesus, maybe the point isn’t the miracle and it’s not the food. Maybe the point is the gathering of believers and non-believers alike. It’s the gathering of people and as they gather together they learn how to love; how to follow God.
I don’t think Jesus fed the poor because they were poor. I think he fed them because they were there. And he fed the rich who were there just the same. He made no distinction. Everyone ate not knowing the miracle that had happened behind the scenes, but right in front of their eyes.
What makes a miracle special is not its publicity, but its secretness. Maybe when Jesus healed the sick and told them not to tell anyone, it wasn’t for himself, but for them. Maybe it was so that they would know he healed them for their own sake, rather than for his own publicity.