It was only our second month, we hadn't even put a name to what we were doing. It was the week before Christmas and all our family wanted to do was go feed the hungry. The team was assembled and we headed down to Safe Ground (tent city- homeless complex). We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips and lots more yummy things to fill the bellies of the residents downtown. We served the meal, sang Christmas carols and began to do what God had actually sent us downtown for.
Tim (my husband) was talking with a man who was sharing what it is like to live in a tent. The snow would fall and the only shelter he had was from an old tent. The clothing that this older man had on came from people or organizations that would come down and if he was lucky he might find something decent. It was a free for all. The quickest to the line walked away with the best, even if that meant one man would have three pairs of boots and the next walked away without. The harsh reality was so sad, but that was his life.
I saw that Tim was talking to this man for quite a while so I walked over. Tim introduced me and they continued their conversation.
The conversation was coming to an end and we noticed that this man only had a thin pair of shoes on and there was about 5 inches of snow on the ground. The man was explaining how he is older so when he gets to the front of the clothing lines there are never any warm boots left. He pointed down at his shoes and said, "well at least I have these." A pair of old running shoes that he had probably picked up from someone who was cleaning out their closet. It was just clutter and could just as easily been thrown in the trash. The words had not even fully left his mouth when I looked down at my husbands boots and thought "but he loves them so much." The next thought was "but they no longer belong to him." I caught Tim's eye and knew what God was asking of him. Tim asked the man, "what size shoes do you wear?" Yes you guessed it... the exact size that he was wearing. The black leather boots were issued to Tim when he was in the military. They were awesome and expensive, but they no longer belonged to Tim. Tim had cared for those boots, polished the leather to keep them in great shape.
What I saw next was so touching that I couldn't speak because the tears wouldn't have stopped if I let them start. Tim said, "if I could get you a pair of boots right now would you want them?" The man said, "really, yes!!" Holding up his foot Tim said, "they're yours." Our new friend looked confused and was fighting back tears. He said, "no, I can't! I can't take the shoes off your feet." Tim replied, "they're yours!"
Tim didn't have a back up pair in the car. The man asked Tim, "how will you get home?" Tim replied, "I will go home in my socks."
The gentlemen was so reluctant but together they walked to the car. I stayed where I was because the beauty is of what I was seeing was so overwhelming. Not only was that my husband but that was God providing through Tim the need of a man He created. God loves this man, dirty, smelly, unshaven, God loves him the same as he loves me. He loves him and wants his heart as much as He wants mine.
I kept watching as Tim untied his boots. I was watching the man's face. Every pull of the laces that loosened them from Tim's feet, the bigger his smile was getting. Both pairs were off Tim's feet and the exchange was about to take place. I couldn't hear the words my husband was speaking but what I could see was the love that was in his eyes.
I saw Tim shake his hand and the words I heard next caused the tears I had been holding back to come pouring out. With the boots raised high in the air, held like a trophy at the completion of the championship game. I heard these words, "the man gave me the boots off his feet!!" He shouted again, "The man gave me the boots off of his feet!!" As he shouted I looked at my husband as he sat with his legs half way in halfway out of his car. Tim's socks had never looked whiter to me. The absence of his shoes weren't what stood out to me, it was the look on Tim's face.
He didn't want everyone to know what he had done. It was being shouted at the top of this man's lungs and joy was so clear for everyone to see. Everyone around was looking. Tim quietly closed the door and gave me the look that it was time to go. I got into the car that I drove down and followed my barefoot husband home.
The exchange that took place is not common because we are so used to giving our leftovers. We give God what we have leftover rather than are very best. We gather up our old outdated, faded ready for the dump clothing and pawn it off on the "bum" on the street.
Our relationship with God is so parallel, we plan, get so busy. Were even busy doing what we think would please God but actually missing what He truly wants from us... Our very best, not the leftovers.
We serve the Lord, we go to church. We sing the songs, but do we give him our very best?
God doesn't want our leftovers. He just doesn't want you to sing the songs in church... HE wants you to worship him. He doesn't just want a lifeless body sitting in the nursery... He wants you to be his hands and touch the faces and kiss the boo-boos of His little children. He wants you to go to work with joy because He gave you that job. He placed those co-workers in your day, everyday because you may be the only glimpse they have into the heart of God.
Are you giving God leftovers or your very best? Do you hold the shoes on your feet or the car that you drive so closely that if God said, "it isn't yours anymore," you would hang onto it out of fear or joyfully hand it over to His purposes?
He wants your best!! You are His best!! You are a creation made in His image! You are His!!!
Will you give Him your best?
Lord thank you for giving your very best... your only son! Thank you for offering him as a sacrifice so that I may live in eternity with you. Help me Lord to see the areas in my life that I offer only my leftovers. Give me opportunities to see your provision and love for me. I want to offer my very best to you everyday!!! Thank you for loving me! --Amen