By Zach Hopkins
Continued from The Poor Might Just Save the Church
I confessed to Willie what I was really doing in the bar district. I told him my prayer offered to God about one hour prior. I knew why I was there. I asked Willie about what he thought about God and Jesus. He told me that he had heard some, but didnt really know much. I asked if I could share with Him.
Sitting on the street corner that cold December night, I shared the Gospel with Willie. I told him about the greatest Love the world has ever known. I told him it was all done just for him. After many questions and sharing of scriptures, Willie and I prayed together and he made a decision to trust Christ, and ask Him into his heart. Afterwards he said he had been looking for a promise he knew he could count on, he had been looking for something true in his life. With tears in his eyes, he thanked me for sharing with him.
Afterwards, I knew he needed three dollars to get on the bus the next day for a job interview. I dont say this to brag, but to prove a point: I gave Willie all my food and all the money I had in my wallet.
I had realized that while these things might be important for him to have, they were worth nothing compared to the grace that covered his life that night, and so they were worth nothing to me anymore, so I gave it all up to him.
I invited Willie to the final session of my conference the next night. I wanted him to experience a community of faith, prayer, and worship. I told him to meet me in the same spot the next evening. He told me he would be there.
When I got home that night and told my friends, some questioned whether or not he would hold true to his promise. I never doubted. The next night, I walked out to the same intersection and found a man cleanly-shaved and showered. He was proud, and he held his head up high. I took him out to eat, and then he joined my friends and me at our service that night.Later on, we all sat down to talk with him and to pray.
The six other people that met him that evening all walked away having a completely different perspective on the less fortunate. Just because someone is homeless doesnt make him or her a bad person.
We tend to forget that when Jesus called us to reach out to the least of these he actually meant to reach out, not to talk about it the pews of our churches. Christ was intentional with His love for the physically and spiritually hungry.
I spent close to two hours on the freezing ground. I watched thousands of Colts fans file out of the RCA dome, not one of them reaching out to the needy around them. They looked at me the same way I had looked at the homeless the past 20 years of my life, with disgust and disdain.
I got a taste of what it felt like, to be rejected. I will always remember Willie; he told me that even though he had almost nothing, he knew he was a rich man because he knew the Lord.
Zach is a student at Illinois College and will graduate in 2009 with degrees in Religion and Sociology. With a passion for the message of Christ, and an often times radical approach to faith he is the Co-President of Brothers and Sisters In Christ and plans to go into full time ministry after school. He is from St. Louis, MO and has been alive and kicking 20 for years.