Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Serving God at the Winter Shelter

Galatians 5:13

Serve one another humbly in love

Ray 2019This Sunday will end our week this winter – serving the homeless communities men – with the Winter Shelter program. I’m always impressed by those who participate in this ministry. Many stay up all night and then go to work the next day. I know this is hard – regardless of your age – because I have been doing it one night each year that I have had the privilege to serve First Church. If the men are calm and sleeping – the hardest part of spending the night is staying up all night and then going to work the next day. From Wednesday at 6 am till Thursday morning at 9 am – the posting of this devotional – I got 3.5 hours of bed time (less in sleep time). I will crash tonight or maybe take a nap this afternoon. I know the two men who stayed last night along with me are tired. One went to work this morning and the other will go to work in the afternoon. Some people work more evenings than one. I’m not sure how they do it. We could certainly use more help this year and each year. We have the shelter for the men through Sunday morning.

Aside from the lack of sleep – the amazing part of the week is getting to know the men who visit the shelter. I usually take the time to sit and eat several dinners with the men – talking with them and getting to know them. Several of the men have jobs. We talked about their work. Several of the men were new to the shelter program this year. Several of the men from years past have found shelter elsewhere.

Several of the men from the shelter came to worship each Sunday they were with us. Three came to the Bible Study we held on Tuesday night. A number of people developed a relationship with the men this year. Several people helped out several nights – every night for some I believe. Some helped with registration. Some helped with meals (we gave 20-25 men a warm meal each night, a breakfast and a bag lunch). People just chipped in and worked together to serve – with humility – others in need.

If I had to use one word to describe the servants from First Church at the shelter – I would use the word humble. No one was out to be recognized – no one was looking down on the men in need – each person I ran into over the week was very compassionate and caring. It warmed my heart to work alongside the men and women of our church in this ministry again this year.

The three of us who stayed last night had some really deep discussions. We talked politics – sports – theology and just regular life. I learned more about them and they learned more about me. It was a great time spent.

Today’s passage from Galatians is from a section – in my Bible – titled – Life by the Spirit. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Galatians 5:13–26 – 13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Humility is God-like. We are to be like Jesus – to do what Jesus would do. I was in awe of the men and women of our church and the humility they showed serving others. Thank you for allowing me to be your pastor. Please come out – even for an hour or so – and experience serving others together.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

December 19, 2019 - Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , ,

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