Mom, why are there so many people walking around here?
Why do they look so dirty?
Why doesn't that woman have shoes on?
Then I realized we were right in front of the Union Gospel Mission. Not really such a big deal, but just last week I finished reading "Same Kind of Different as Me." The biography is about three very special lives that intersected at this mission. The mission was rebuilt as a result of all that happened between them. That made it a big deal to me! Instead of seeing these homeless people as scary and shameful, I saw them as hearts that God longed to reach. Lives that were just as important as mine and my children's. And all because of this great book (a must read if you haven't already).
Another thing that moved me just as much was the way my children responded to the information I gave them. I told them these people didn't have homes to live in, most likely didn't have jobs, and probably only had the clothes on their back and nothing more. Immediately, in childlike innocence, they wanted to scoop up all these people wandering around and bring them home. They wanted to buy them clothes, food and cars. The ideas were just flying all over the van as we drove slowly by. My favorite was from Sam: "Mom, maybe we should just adopt a baby for one of them. That would really help them because it would make them so happy to have someone to love."
In innocence, my children responded much the way I think God would want us all to respond. In matchless love and abandon. Not caring why these strangers were there (did you notice the kids NEVER asked why the people were homeless?) or what they looked or smelled like, and not caring if they ever changed...just simply living out our faith by actively loving them.
I have a lot to learn from my kids.
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:37-40