Ladies, sorry but this writing is directed to men. This is not to dismiss women but rather to encourage men to embrace the notion of serving others. For many men this is a difficult assignment; we become stuck in the "let others do that" mindset.
When I began our small Ministry in 1991, I was focused on “homelessness” and addictions as they related to men. I hesitated to add women. It seemed while they may have been “homelessness” and addicted their issues were different. Many had been abused by men. And I lacked the ability and confidence to discuss their women issues. Keep in mind, I was dealing with my own personal issues. Caught in aftermath of painful divorce I was hurt and angry. Like the men in the group I was not where I wanted to be.
Personally, I was too self-directed and unable to love a wonderful woman as God wanted. My world revolved around me and my needs. I could not get out of my “self” or out of my own constructed world. You see, I had an image to protect.
Herein starts the Journey. On my best days, I was and still am, a mediocre Christian, professionally my head was in the world of business. All my life until early 1991, I stood on the edge of Christianity; I attended church regularly and some bible studies during the week; I knew some biblical scriptures; I knew Jesus from a distant historical position. In Christianize, I would be called a lukewarm follower; some may have wondered if I had my Salvation. I struggled with the notion of trusting a God I did not see or hear. This notion was, foreign, laughable and dangerous. What Faith? I had faith only in my over-exaggerated abilities. From this hardened position, God began to work in His mysterious ways.
Like many men, I would describe myself as rebellious, independent and prone to doing what feels good at the time. I am not alone; many men walk on this side of the road. So, when I sat with the homeless men at Faith Mission to talk about a trusting relationship with Jesus, I felt comfortable.
Here is one of my first suggestions to serving others. Be yourself, No one likes a phony. In the “homeless” circles hypocrisy stands out. Don’t try to be super spiritual or super bad. Just be yourself. It is from this position of humbleness and truth, that God begins his work in you. Keep in mind not all will welcome you. Some will not accept you. You may feel a negative vib or two. Just be still. There is no need to pretend. Perhaps the lowest of the low will help you be your own man.
The second suggestion to serving comes out of my desire to be independent. My tendency is go against the norm. If someone tells to go left, my instinct is to go right. This reaction carries over to my Christian faith. Particularly, directions coming from religious leaders who seemed pompous or out of touch. To overcome this personal barrier, I had redirect my attention to Jesus and not necessary spiritual leaders. The little cliché “What would Jesus do” helped me move closer to a more direct communication with Jesus. Over time, my trust level and hearing increased. Slowly I overcame my allegiant to myself to focus on my relationship with Jesus and accept Church leaders as men and women doing what God has asked them to do.
At some point, the third suggestion comes into play. Just do it. Truthfully serving is not a natural trait of most men. We need blinders to keep the distractions away. If God asks us to serve, just do it. And you keep doing it until God helps overcome this seemingly unnatural response. Over time, we develop patience and perseverance. Over time as we become more faithful, serving becomes a habit and God gives us more assignments.
Finally, enjoy the Journey among the “homeless” and poor, I have met many colorful and always interesting Christians. They are unique. They are real. Some are humble; some are charlatans; some inspire; others push you away. You will grow to enjoy Mr. Brown, a street character, who with humility and cheerfulness carries man’s burdens in his plastic bags. Here in the depths of poverty and chaos, I met God’s people; the strength of their faith is unexpected.
1 Corinthians 1:26 (NIV) Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.