Let’s be honest … the homeless on the street corner flyin’ a sign that says, “Anything will help. Please give $$” are tough to look at. It’s almost second nature to pull up to a stoplight and avoid eye contact with a panhandler. Ignore. Turn away. Do anything to resist giving a handout. A hand up? Maybe. But a hand out? Nope!
These are the confessions of a recovering Pharisee (me) … a self righteous, critical, fault-finding man who can quickly size up and assess a person or a situation and consider it “wisdom.” A Pharisee is, at the core, self-sufficient. Pharisees view their own life / faults through the lens of a telescope and others through a microscopic lens. No wonder Jesus called the Pharisees of his day “fools, hypocrites, blind guides, white-washed tombs, murderers and a generation of snakes.”
My Pharisaical tendencies toward the homeless have slowly melted away. A Mobile Loaves & Fishes truck run in 2008 “ruined” me for the ordinary. God used this ministry to infuse me with a sincere, Spirit-led desire to develop friendship with my under resourced brothers and sisters. People like Ellis have become part of my new community. Ellis was on the streets of Austin for 8 years. He has faced the profound, catastrophic loss of family. He also dealt with legal issues and a lack of purpose and identity. Ellis is now a brand new resident of Community First! Village and works as a food manager to further the cause of sustainable agriculture. He seeks to follow the ways of Jesus and is growing spiritually. In addition, he had the opportunity to go to his first UT basketball game and (in his words) “had the time of my life.”
Thank you for helping us create a Christ-centered spiritual growth model that will transform countless lives (like Ellis) from Community First! and beyond.