Witnessing change, recognizing rewards at the Mission
One of the joys of working at the Mission is that I can be myself around our clients. We have a comfy rec area where our clients can relax, watch TV, or play cards. I enjoy shooting the breeze with clients on the couches in this room, talking about stuff that doesn’t matter. One of our clients, Harrison, was telling me about how excited he was to eat his can of Chunky soup later that day. Soon after, a homeless gentleman stopped at the Mission and asked for food. Harrison and I put together some items for him in a bag. Someone suggested we give him a can of soup, but I couldn’t find any with a pop top. Without blinking Harrison put his can of Chunky soup in the bag. I was floored.
Later I asked Harrison about it. “Jesus promised that if we give a cup of cold water to someone in need, we won’t lose our reward. I’ve got so many rewards already here at the Mission!” Speaking as a chaplain, teacher, and pastor, it’s so wonderful to be humbled by those I lead. Harrison provided such a perfect example of selflessness to me.
In the chapter Harrison referenced, Jesus has recruited his friends, the 12 disciples. He’s preparing them for ministry by giving them instructions. He tells them where to go, what to take, what to say, and how to behave. He sets realistic expectations for them. The commitment they’ve all made is going to be life changing. He wants them to experience those life changes, but he wants them to be ready for it. They’ll meet people who disagree with them, and those who don’t want what Jesus is offering. Despite that, fellowship with Jesus is so worth it!
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:40-42
Some of our friends might be surprised to learn how often these types of things happen here at the Mission. We as staff are on the front lines feeding the poor, but we’re also training clients in the Life Recovery Program to do the same thing. When they come to us, it’s common for men in our program to be living selfishly; homelessness tends to do that to a person. But men in our program leave with an understanding of how much better their lives are when they serve God’s kingdom. We have our joys in life, but they don’t compare to what God wants for us. May we all be willing to share our joys with the least of these and point them back to Jesus!