Hello everyone. 🙂
I hope that this story touches hearts and inspires minds.
I was a 19 year old college student. Over my Christmas break, I heard a sermon that deeply impressed me with the need for me to go out and help those in need. When I returned to my university, I decided to join a group there as they went out to feed people in need on a Sabbath morning.
As a child, my parents, siblings and I were a part of a church group that fed at a local homeless shelter. Although I had fed at the homeless shelter many times, I cannot remember having ever found any special joy in doing so. In addition to spending time feeding at a homeless shelter, my parents, siblings and I had spent time working with other people from church in a very poor area. Although I did enjoy some of the experiences I had in this area, I also cannot remember having found any particularly special joy while spending time helping people there.
Now, things were different. I was not going to help needy people just because my parents were taking me. I had, of my own free will, signed myself up to go with a group that was going to feed needy people. When one of my suite-mates heard what I was going to do the night before, she decided to come along as well.
That morning I remember how everyone going to feed people in need got into the two minivans that we were taking. We drove to a needy area of town and parked at the side of the road. We opened the trunks of the minivans. The next hour or two were such a blessing to me. People began to come and we served them breakfast… and we didn’t just serve them; we also talked with them. One of the gentleman who came looked like my paternal grandfather. This made me feel more comfortable talking with him. As some of the other students and I talked to this gentleman, I realized how intelligent he was. He had fallen on hard times, and he was a very intelligent man who was looking to better his life.
As I think about this interaction (of which many of the details have become fuzzy in my mind now), I think about the fact that every impoverished person has a story. When we see a poorly dressed person living in run down housing, or a homeless person, we do not know his or her story. There have been people in my social circles who have become homeless and who are now no longer homeless.
Sometimes people go through very hard circumstances-and even if/when people have become needy due to their own poor choices, they need to be shown God’s love. God’s love is a beautiful things. I have come to the point in my life, after a long journey, where I do not see needy people in the way that I used to see them. Who knows? Perhaps you or I will become destitute and/or homeless at some point in our lives. With this being the case, it is a blessing for us to practice treating those in this position with the same courtesy, respect and thoughtfulness with which we would wish to be treated if we were in the same position.
Back to my story. 🙂 When I returned to my dormitory, my heart was truly joyful. I was not dwelling on the not so nice atmosphere of the place we had been; I was filled with the joy that comes from serving others as God wants us to. This is one of several experiences I have had which has shown me that we can find a taste of heaven on earth from serving others. I believe that, more than anything else, what makes heaven heaven is the strong current of unselfish love that is constantly flowing there. The more that we experience this unselfish love in our lives here, the more we will be getting a glimpse of the forever joys of eternal life in heaven.
It is my highest desire in life to be used by God to show His love to others. I know from experience that serving others brings the best kind of joy that there is to our hearts. If you are interested, as I am, in having this desire and this joy made stronger in your heart- or if you are interested in having this desire and this joy put in your heart for the very first time, I invite you to pray along with me:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Please help all of us to be emptied of selfishness and filled with Your love. Please help us to find ways in which we can be a blessing to others and please give us Your joy while we do so.
You are so loving and kind, dear God. Please forgive us of our sins ad give us new hearts. Thank you for your goodness and please help us to become more like You.
In Jesus’ Name
Blessings and courage. 🙂