Chicago Streets

Sarah and I have been hanging in Chicago over Thanksgiving.  Had a good time seeing the Chicago Thanksgiving parade (obviously not as heavy as the one in New York, but pretty nice- I was just happy to see a Scooby Doo float).

We saw “The Social Network”- a great little flick about the notorious facebook- a modern addictive social networking engine of which I am currently attached to like heroin.

When we went in to get the tickets on Thanksgiving night for the movie.  An older homeless dude came in to the building and asking for a buck to get a burger.  Normally in these situations I’d walk with the guy down to McD’s and buy him whatever he wants, maybe say a prayer with him, maybe eat a burger with him and be on our way.

But this guy said something that tore my heart out.  “It’s Thanksgiving man, and I’m just really hungry.”

Me and Sarah had to get to the movie, and the next McD’s was 6 blocks away.  I gave the guy $5, and before I could catch his name he took off.

I know a lot of people would say not to do this.  Maybe the kat was gonna spend it on crack or booze- he definitely smelled like bourbon.  But I realized in that moment what a good friend of mine Duane Crabbs- who lives and does ministry in the hood in Akron- told me.  It’s not my responsibility where the dude spent the $5.  But I should do all I can to try and help and love people the way Jesus would.

And man- going into that film- spending $22 so we could sit in a cushy seat in the city to watch it really broke me.  Even as I’m writing this a famous song “There’s no place like home for the holidays” plays over the loudspeaker at the Lavazza coffee shop on Ohio Street in downtown Chicago.  I realize this guy may have taken that $5 and bought a burger, or maybe a little bottle of cheap rot gut whiskey.  He may have spent his Thanksgiving on the cold, 22 degree streets of Chicago, passed out, with his only warmth from the liquor flowing through his veins.

May the warmth of Jesus warm all our hearts this season.  And think about who you can help in your life- maybe not just a $5 bill and goodbye.  Maybe inviting someone with no cash over for dinner- maybe mentoring an urban youth, maybe sending money to help build a well across the seas, or sitting with an elderly person who is lonely just to listen.  It’s these things that are a true overflowing of the way of Jesus and His gospel.

 

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2 thoughts on “Chicago Streets

  1. Nice post. I love Chicago and it’s so crazy that you’ll be walking down one ritzy street and you turn the corner and you are in the ghetto. My practice has always been when it comes to people who ask me for something is this: A lot of the time we pick a part this person and the motives for their requests when in reality we ourselves need to check our own hearts to see if we have a giving heart. I believe that if you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you, you can never go wrong. I don’t have to second guess myself when I know the Holy Spirit is leading me to give. I don’t have to worry about what the other person is doing, I just need to make sure that I’m being obedient when the Holy Spirit is leading me. Sometimes I’ve been in situations where I did not feel like giving (whether that is my own sin or God is giving me discernment I have to figure that out), but when I know the Spirit it leading me I will give more because I know I’m suppose to. Forget second guessing–just do as the Spirit leads you!

    • Right on Lisa. That’s where it’s at. There is never a formula to generosity as led by the Holy Spirit- and God definitely brings people to us for certain reasons that are beyond what we know. Thanks for your response!

      And yeah- Chicago is a wild place! No wonder there are so many good ministries out there. I’m always reminded that the city- ghettoes in particular- are the biggest mission fields of America.

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