When Jerry answered the phone today I had no idea what God had prepared in his heart.

I was calling around to all the different houses where Xena is staying trying to find her.  Jerry answered and told me that he had not seen her since Monday.  I thanked him and was about to hang up the phone when Jerry said, “Hey, are you the guy who took Xena to church?”  I told him I was.  He said, “Um, I am really embarrassed to talk about this, but can I talk to you for a few minutes?”

He told me that when Xena came home she was crying from happiness.  He said he had never seen her like that.  She said that for the first time in a long time she had hope again.  He said, “I think that she felt like someone cared about her, and didn’t just want to use her”.

He said that he didn’t really know how to say it, but he wanted that hope for himself.  He asked me if I knew what made the difference.  He said that he doesn’t really know much about God other than “He works in mysterious ways”.  He said that he prayed for the first time last night and for some reason he knew that he should talk to me, “and then you called,” he said.

Jerry told me that he is an alcoholic and has been for 35 years.  He said that he trades his food stamps to buy alcohol and sometimes does not eat for days.  He told me that he got out of jail a year ago and now is on probation.  He told me that he is a little slow, “and has a hard time understanding things”.  Sometimes people come to his house and stay for days and do drugs and he is afraid to tell them to leave.

Last night his probation officer came to his house and told Jerry that she was going to violate his probation because he had not filled out the required amount of job applications, and because she found a drug spoon in the house.  That is when he prayed.  He told me that after she left he fell down and started to cry because he is so afraid of going back to jail.  That, he said, is when he prayed.  He has no idea why he did it, he just thought that if Xena, a prostitute and drug addict can come home with hope, then maybe he can find some too.

The hope of Jesus is unable to be contained.  When Xena experienced the presence of Jesus at our church and saw that people accepted her just as she is, she realized that there is more to this life than what she sees everyday.  The cross of Jesus is about so much more than having the right place to go after death.  Jesus invites you and me and Xena to a hope that he is doing something right now AND forever.

Jerry and Xena are not below me.  I am not more special or important to Jesus because I have known him longer.  I am not higher on some spiritual totem pole.  In fact, I have already made the decision to die.  If I follow Jesus to what he has called me, then I am lower than these people.  They may be dying, slowly killing themselves, yet I am not above them – I am below them because I am already dead.  I have nothing, own nothing, belong to no person, except the beloved hope of Jesus Christ – and I have been called to share it.  I am no where near living out this truth.

After work I went over to Jerry’s house to bring some groceries and talk to him.  We talked about a plan to present to his probation officer when we meet with her next Tuesday.  Please pray for Jerry.  Pray that we can convince his probation officer to let him work our plan, instead of sending him to jail again.

This journey of giving is teaching me that giving my time is more valuable than all my possessions.  Yet, in my heart I am still so greedy and value meaningless possessions.  I have so much to work out.  God, please change my heart.