Valentine’s Cookies for the Homeless
My friend Paula texted me one morning inviting us to take cookies to the homeless in the downtown area of our city.
Although our day’s plans were quite full, I heard a still, small voice whisper, “People over things.” With just fifteen minutes before departure time, we decided to join them for the cookie delivery.
Keeping staple items in our pantry has been key to us being prepared on a dime to extend hospitality or a serving hand. The girls (15 and 13) got out the big tub of chocolate chip cookie dough (from Sams) and began putting balls of dough onto baking sheets. We had to let the cookies cool off in the car before putting them into Ziploc baggies.
Paula’s cookies were beautiful heart-shaped sugar cookies with pink frosting and decorations and were put into lovely, heart-decorated cellophane bags. I’m bragging on her. Her love was apparent in the time and details she put into her cookies and presentation.
I point that out for several reasons…
Maybe you struggle with comparing your skill or talent with someone else’s, preventing you from being used by the Lord to show kindness to another.
Or perhaps you’re on the other end – you find great joy in the details. But, if time or resources prevent you from achieving your desired result, you decline opportunities to serve or forgo if, in the process, the outcome of your product is less than your standard.
There’s great freedom in trusting that the Lord wants to use you as you are. When a specific person or group of persons pops in my mind, followed by an idea of kindness, encouragement, doing for, or serving, I have learned to trust that idea was from the Lord and for me to be the giver or doer. My response should simply be “Okay, Lord.”
Hear. Trust. Obey.
And, there’s great joy in being a participant of the Lord’s work.
Paula was gracious, of course, and didn’t care one bit that we were ready in fifteen minutes when she had spent the previous day preparing. She was happy to have us join her and her son. Her simple aim at this outing was to show love to the downtrodden on Valentine’s Day.
On our way there, a little “training ahead” took place in the van. I had discussions with the kids on the importance of seeing the homeless through Christ’s eyes. He is no respecter of persons. Each person we will encounter has a story, a journey, and hurts and suffering. Many have family members who are heartbroken or worried.
We talked about possible reasons that someone might be homeless, realizing that they are all real people.
Perhaps drugs or alcohol sent them spiraling down an addictive road they can’t get out of. It’s feasible that a string of bad choices caused loss of jobs, families, and homes. Maybe mental illness has overtaken their mind and ability to be rational, and until that’s better there is no reasoning with them. It may be the weights of financial pressures and keeping up with demands in society that caused them to check out of the rat race. Maybe they’re just like you and me, but lost their job and just need a second chance.
We talked about showing interest in them by engaging in conversation and treating them with respect. Showing love, not looking down at them, was our aim.
I want my kids to love all people and to feel comfortable to say “Yes” when God calls them to go serve. . . In their community and abroad. To the familiar and the unfamiliar. To the rich and the poor. To the prostitute and to the businessman. To those living in the hood and those living in the gated community. To the well and to the sick. To the lovely and the unlovely.
This is possible only when we get beyond “self” and experience the freedom and joy found in trusting God and obeying His promptings to serve.
Trust the idea the Lord puts on your heart. He wants to use you and your children to show love.
Rhonda trueJOYisfoundinservingtheLord ellis