So I had determined that day three would be “better”.  By my own failures days one and two were lame, and I was going to make day three much better.  I was going to be purposeful in my actions, as opposed to the last-minute efforts of the past two days.  I wanted it to mean something.

I waited till about 9:30 pm and headed out of the house.  It was about 15 degrees outside, which is incredibly cold for Nashville.  I was sure that I would see someone who was cold and needed a blanket or a single mom buying a heater because her heat was out.  Nope.  Nothing.   I drove up and down the streets of East Nashville and went into every store along the way.  Nothing.

I decided that God must want me to take it up a notch.  So I headed further into the “bad” parts of town where I know the homeless usually congregate.  Then I spotted a pile of something next to a building.  I thought this was it.  I spun the car around thinking that I would find an old helpless man huddled close to a building with just an old blanket, freezing cold and needing a strapping young man to help him get to the shelter.  Would I buy him some clothes?  A coat?  Some new shoes?

Actually nothing.  Because when I drove up I found only a pile of blankets that someone had obviously left for anyone needing them.

What was God doing?  Why was he not leading me to give something to someone in need?  I was here, ready and willing.  Did he not need me?  Then across the street I noticed the projects.  Maybe God wanted me to go in there?  Ok.  So I drove on over, passed through the gates with warning signs on them and entered into a new world.  You can’t help to notice how the cars change.  Suddenly there were only two types of vehicles, broken, beat up 1984 Ford Escorts, or brand new Escalades.  I love it here.

But that was not the place either.  God was trying to teach me something.

I stopped by and talked to a friend of mine who has a ministry down there, and then drove around for a while, talking to God.  That is when he finally had me in a place where he could teach me.  I realized that I had been looking for what I wanted.  I wanted to rescue someone.  Mainly because then I would feel like I had done better than the last two days.  I wanted satisfaction.  If I gave to a single mom, I would feel better than if I gave to a man who looked like he was fully capable of working.

I had made it about me.  No matter how I spin it, it was about me and for me.  So I decided to give up.  If God wanted to give to someone and use me, then he would have to put it in my path.  I realized that God is creating, building and forming.  He is trying everything to get into the hearts of all men.  I am only a tool for him to use.

It is not my responsibility to create the “greatest opportunity” for giving.  I decided to just let him lead.  I headed into the next place with people that I saw – a Walmart.  I went in and looked around.  The first thing I spotted was the gift card rack.  I grabbed two of them and put $10 on each one.  I still had no idea.

I walked outside and decided to give them to the first two people I saw.  As soon as I walked out, there were two workers standing there. One woman, probably in her fifties and sporting about three teeth, all gold, and a security guard – an older man who looked about 75 years old.  I walked up and said, “Hey, I think God wants you to have these”.  They looked at me like I was crazy.  The man asked, “what is the purpose of this”?  If only he knew how ironic his question was.  I had NO idea what the purpose of this was.  I will probably never know.

But I know one thing –  God is creating and building and restoring – right in the midst of our brokenness.

God, you are teaching me a lot.  Please do not stop.

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