We pray that through these blogs, you are encouraged to pray and see how God can use you and your family in your community and city.
Our first entry is by Kenan Clay who has been serving the homeless weekly for almost a year as a volleyball referee, friend and prayer warrior.
I believe God never quits teaching us new things and changing our perspective to be less of the world and more of Him. This has never been more evident in my life than in being able to go down to Unity Park in Fort Worth (for more info see the bottom) and hang out.
Wait so you go down to a homeless park to hangout? It didn’t start off that way, at least for myself. I looked at it as a way to honor God via serving the homeless. Yet God had a better plan, a plan to change my mindset and my heart. Little did I know it but God has been using this opportunity to change my outlook on how I perceive others.
It’s so simple to hear the label ‘homeless’ and just associate the proper stigmas to those labeled that way. I was easily someone who ascribed to that practice. Yet in the last year that we have been hanging out God has shown me that not only is that way of thinking incorrect, it is very much against what Christ did. I am no Biblical expert but in my Bible I do not see where Jesus ascribed to labels and social norms walking away from those people or shunning them. In fact he did quite the opposite. Samaritan adulteress woman, no self respecting Jew is going talk to her. Tax collector, those guys are the worst of all. Lepers, send them out for fear of catching their disease. Yet instead of embracing the way of thinking Jesus hung out with these people, it was these He spoke to the most. He didn’t look at their label, their sin, their situation, He looked at them as just a person. He didn’t care if you they had a crazy disease, was a known swindler, or was a foreign adulteress. He only saw someone who was hurting and needed to be loved.
So what does this all mean? Through setting up a weekly volleyball tournament at Unity Park we get an opportunity not only to provide something (an activity) but also to interact with people that are ‘homeless’. Playing volleyball with these people gives us a unique opportunity to hang out with them, to get to know them, to hear their stories and share ours. When you drop the label, and attempt to look at the people around you see many different stories. A 70 year old man, who has been on the streets for awhile, who never complains about what he doesn’t have but instead is grateful for everything he does have. (How convicting to be around someone who praises God for what he has, and I who has a roof over my head am sometimes not satisfied with what I have). A husband and wife, who live on the street because the husband hurt his back and lost his job. There are so many similar stories that I haven’t even begun to learn. It’s not about helping out the ‘homeless’, its about making friends, giving people someone to talk to, showing the love of Christ by listening instead of shunning.
It’s funny how when I initially began going down to Unity Park I thought I would make a difference on the people, take them for Christ. Instead I have been changed and am changing. Now, maybe now, I can begin to look at those around me not as a ‘homeless’ or ‘adulterer’ or ‘sinner’ but as a person just like me.
If you'd like more info on being part of reaching out to the homeless in Fort Worth, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more info on Unity Park and what it is, check out Feed By Grace http://www.feedbygrace.org/unity-park/