Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sometimes you just have to sit there...

When the call came in I wasn't sure what he was asking. The man on the other end of the line began his story about how he was traveling to Lansing for a funeral. Without my saying a word, my mind immediately jumped to wondering if he was calling because he needed funeral clothes and would like to access our clothing distribution center. His story continued that he was traveling by bus, so I next wondered if he was calling because he needed bus fare to return home (not one of our regular services) or overnight shelter tonight (which we could accommodate in our men's shelter).

"I saw your sign," he finally said, "on the front of your building, as I was sitting on the bus, and I wanted to know what the verse was so I could use it in my eulogy. I didn't have anything to write with," he said with apology in his voice, "you're not really expecting to see something to write down while you're riding on a bus."

I admit, I did have to leave my chair long enough to open the door and peer up at the reference (just to be sure), but he thanked me for my help and that was all. No request for food, shelter, clothing, money, or anything. Just a reference for a Bible verse.

And I was struck again by the importance of being completely honest about our mission. We, as a Mission and as a united staff, are a Christian organization. We are not, as our executive director likes to reiterate, to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. It is not always popular or well received to have a Bible verse on a sign. Or for that matter to have "Jesus Saves" spelled out in big red letters. But just having them there makes a difference. And as long as our actions "match" the words, we make a difference. Sometimes just by being there.

No comments: