For many of us on a Saturday morning, we are confronted with a dilemma. Do we stay in the comfort of our homes, or do we go out and give to others that which has been so generously given to us? What will we choose? Stay home, or will we meet up with other believers from Living Water to minister to those in need?
As Kim put it, “If it were left up to me, I would not choose to get out of bed every Saturday morning and head down to the corner of State and 2nd Street. However, since it is God who directs my steps, that is exactly what I do. I am His servant and I will go where He sends me.”
There’s only a handful of us, but like Living Water Community Church, we are a diverse group – especially in terms of age. We have grandmas, grandpas, grandchildren, and every age in between!
As Terry prayed for a woman named Karen, at the conclusion of her prayer, Terry’s granddaughter, who has a heart for helping others, reached into her pocket and handed Karen a gospel tract, which Karen accepted with a smile.
Jamie wasn’t sure that she had anything to give away other than her love and kindness, but it was her own father who contributed. Her dad gave Jamie a couple of gently used khaki shorts and a used Key West t-shirt to give to someone. Dwayne, our homeless friend, was the joyful recipient and afterwards he said to Jamie, “Please thank your dad for me and tell him Happy Father’s Day!”
For me, frankly, I didn’t want to come down to Harrisburg this morning. I had injured myself a week before, tripping down the stairs in a hurry not to be late for my physical therapy appointment (consider the irony!). My leg was x-rayed to the bone and ultra-sounded to its depths Tuesday night, but no breaks, no blood clots were discovered, praise God! Still, I have reached an age where injuries no longer heal quickly. Nevertheless, as my dad always said during my football playing days, “Play through the pain.”
So, as I was driving into Harrisburg, I heard Tauren Wells singing his song Trenches on the radio:
The King of all glory, made Himself low To be my defender, wherever I go
My shield and my refuge,
protector and friend
You're always here with me,
You're always here when my…
Heart's under fire, I'm facing defeat So close to surrender, to my enemies But Love came from heaven to fight for me When I am defenseless, You climb in the trenches
I had to reflect on those lyrics somewhere around Herr Street. The King of all Glory down here in the trenches with us, where we fight with the perpetual squalor and destruction of our human sins? The King of all Glory, here with us in the trenches, ministering to the people of Harrisburg on State Street? How could I stay home, in the rearguard, while our great Captain was in the trenches fighting – even dying – to save us from the Enemy?
Like Jamie, I also spent some time engaging with Dwayne. He needed size C batteries for his portable fan; more hot weather in the forecast! Wayne and Kim somehow produced the batteries from the inner depths of their SUV, where I sometimes think the whole universe of their kindness stretches into the infinite.
Dwayne asked us for a fishing pole, which Jamie will be supplying to him. But we didn’t have any fishing poles Saturday, though we were about two blocks from the river. They say if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
Dwayne told me a fishing story of how he pulled up a flounder, his favorite fish, from the Bay and how because it was a flat fish and didn’t want to come up, he had to pull and pull to reel it in.
So, I told him my favorite fishing story, from Luke 5:1-11, that some of Jesus’ first disciples were fishermen and though they had worked hard all night long, fishing on the Sea of Galilee, they didn’t bring home a catch, not one minnow, their nets were empty. So, Jesus said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon was reluctant, they were already tired from the long night. But from the start, he recognized there was something special about this man and did his bidding. And then they caught so many fish that their nets were breaking!
When Simon Peter saw all the fish in his nets, he realized he was nobody, just a sinful man. Asked Jesus to turn away from him, but Jesus said to him instead, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”
Dwayne didn’t know that story. I felt Jesus encouraging him also to be a fisher of men. What greater catch is there than a drowning man, a drowning woman or a drowning child? If you teach a man to be a fisher of men, you feed him for eternity. Pray for Dwayne!
The number of people on the street are growing, and we could use more servants of the Lord. Let me close with a quote from Wayne and Kim, who head up this much-needed ministry, “We personally want to invite you to join us as we hit the streets of Harrisburg and show Jesus' love to those who are hurting and lost. If early Saturday morning doesn't work for you, then maybe you can join us on Monday evenings from 5:30-6:30pm at Front Street and Paxton Street under the railroad bridge. We would love to have you join us!”
For more information, please email Living Water’s Director of Outreach, Mike Bongo, at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will get you plugged in! You will be blessed as you become a blessing to others!
And that is the Word on the Street!