“What do you want me to do for you?”

We went to the “overflow shelter” in Santa Fe last night, we plan to go again tonight. We met a few men and women who need more of Jesus, got to pray for a man named “Joe” who had been an alcoholic and drug addict for nearly 20 years.  Just last month he made some horrible choices and decided to drive a company truck drunk.  He eventually fled from police, was tazed and broke his leg in the arrest.  Talk about the “valley of the shadow of death.”  You really have a choice when you come across a guy like this, (1) you can turn away and say to yourself, he is here because of stupid choices he has made, he doesn’t deserve my time.  Anyways, he will probably just end up using again and any help we offer him will be wasted, or (2) you can love him, you can ask him “what can I do for you” (Mark 10:51) and not judge or condemn.

I always hated the Christian marketing of “What would Jesus do?”, (Jesus wouldn’t buy a bracelet) but seriously, what would He do?  God is Love, Jesus is God, Jesus would love.  Period.  As the “large crowd” walked with Jesus outside of Jericho, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, sat outside of the city walls.  The crowds told him to shut up when he called out to Jesus, on the other hand, Jesus quieted the crowd and asked “What do you want me to do for you?”  Ephesians 5:1 says to imitate Christ, we must be asking anyone and everyone who will listen “What do you want me to do for you?”

28 homeless men and women died on the streets of Santa Fe last year, did anybody ask them “What do you want me to do for you?”

Santa Fe has been different.  There is very little in services to the poor and homeless.  There is basically one shelter in the city, St. Elizabeth’s, and their website puts it this way: “Although we take our name from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first U.S. citizen to be canonized, the Shelter organization is not affiliated with any religion or creed and provides its services without discrimination.”  Where are the believers?  This “overflow shelter” is an attempt to get people in off the streets of Santa Fe, it’s basically an “emergency” shelter.  Something like 20 churches of different denominations divide up the weeks and serve at the shelter for periods of time, and it seems to be ran very well.

A lyric from one of my favorite Andy Gullahorn songs titled “If I were the Devil” says: Christians will argue, “is it the body or just bread, while all the unfed die hungry on the street.”  God is calling us to unite in love for the poor, the widows, the beggars, not just our own flock.  In large part, it seems that churches and organizations here are territorial, they have “their” programs, “their” ministries and don’t take kindly to outsiders.  With a number as staggering as 28 deaths, why are not more Christians asking “What do you want me to do for you?”

Tonight, I’m bringing “Joe” a pair of pants, last night we asked him “What do you want me to do for you?”


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