This year our church started a new method of outreach within the local area. We're taking a turn every couple months to serve lunch at the Food Bank in Lebanon. We signed up to help serve today and it was an interesting experience.
Seven people were already working when we got there at 10:30. It took all of us to get the food ready by noon. We served Italian bread, hamburger-noodle casserole, tossed salad, and banana pudding. When it was time to serve Leroy and I took care of pouring water and coffee. We made enough for 200 and served 130, so we had a lot of leftovers to find homes for.
As I was pouring water and watching the people eat, I wondered what the circumstances were in their lives that brought them to a soup kitchen for a free meal. There were people of all ages. Some were young mothers with several children (single moms perhaps?). There were old people, young men, and middle-aged people. Very few of them looked like homeless people who lived on the street. None of them were dirty and ragged but there were all kinds of outfits, tattoos, earrings, and you name it. As I watched one particularly "fashionable" young man I thought, no matter how they look on the outside every one of these people have an eternal soul that will live forever somewhere. It's hard to see past the sagging pants and long chains and remember you're seeing the face of Christ. Inasmuch . . .
Several people asked what church we are from and one man said he would like to come. He asked for directions and had me write it down. I told him I'll be looking for him. We need to go to foreign countries and minister to the needs of the physically and spiritually poor, but there are also plenty of people in need in our own back yard. Reach out and touch someone in your own neighborhood.