What happens when you are faced with the reality of your faith?
You have a choice. To walk it out, scary as it may seem, or to turn a deaf ear to the prompting in your heart.
Today, I’m facing such a dilemma…and yet what will I choose?
I’ve been in Chicago for a few days. I love this city, as it is like a second home to me. Even on a work trip, I find the time to do the things I enjoy. I frequent my favorite restaurants, and I run the lakeshore trails while breathing in the beautiful skyline. I do touristy stuff like visit the Art Museum or Shedd’s Aquarium. And I’ve even taken a selfie under the Bean in Millennium Park. For me, it is a fun escape…even in the cold windy month of March.
Yet this time, I am faced with the issue of homelessness. I’ve seen it before—it’s part of big city life—but this time it is like a vice gripping and squeezing my heart. A man stopped me the other day and asked me to buy him a sandwich. I refused because I was scared to interact with him as he was clearly intoxicated and I was alone.
But what bothers me is that I spent $40 on my own dinner that night and didn’t think twice.
Yesterday, I walked right by a man sitting on the ground. His sign said he was hungry but again I did nothing. Today, the image that I cannot escape is the one of his little dog wrapped up in a blanket next to him when I know my own precious dogs are sleeping in their pet beds, with full bellies in a warm, spacious and beautiful house.
What is the cost of genuine faith?
Right now for me, it is a $5 sandwich, but do I have the courage to give it away?
This is what Jesus said about those who care for God’s people: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matt. 25:34b-36).
It’s my last morning in the city, and I’m heading home this afternoon, but I cannot escape the urgency of this call. So I am off to buy a couple of sandwiches, praying that God will lead me to encounter someone who needs something to eat and a shared smile.
Where are you in your struggle today with the reality of your faith? “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt 25:40).