Sunday, 4 March 2012

A Meal with a side of Love

On Sunday evening after a big day taking the triplets to church, I ventured out to an inner-city ministry in Brisbane upon the invitation of a dear old mate, Brad. Every Sunday night a dedicated group of Christians have been serving a free hot meal to anyone who wanders by and would like it. Just a quiet little hall with a sign out the front, and about seven years of dishing out a hearty dinner to those in need, in want, or just there. They get all manner of God-created characters come by, and all are welcomed with open arms. No judgements, no expectations, just a free gift.  For those who want to stick around, afterwards they spend some time in a circle, chatting about Jesus, who He was and the love He has to give. Help is give, support is offered, prayers are lifted up. A meal, a chat, a message. A simple message indeed, yet a potentially life changing one.

It has (unfortunately) been a while since I've been involved regularly in a service like this and I was inspired and uplifted to be able to help and participate for one fleeting evening. A group trickled in, they ate the delicious home-made lasagne on offer, we chatted, we laughed, we served, we got to know each other. So many people came, we ran out of food and a dear couple in the team ran down the street to purchase some chicken-burgers so that no one would go without.

Half way through the night, a lady came in with her tribe of adorable children - five at least with some older ones not in attendance. She had come before for a meal for her family and been so touched by the free gift on offer, her heart prompted her to give back. Her older girls proudly presented a plate wrapped in tin foil - biscuits their mum had made from the little that she had available - covered in chocolate topping. My heart just about broke when I saw it, a woman with so little, with so much holding her back, still wanting to give and bring something to the table. I was so touched and moved by her generosity, which reminded me of the Bible story of the widow who gave all she had. As we chatted that night, with the immediate connection that is always there between mums, she talked about her life and the battles she has faced. Determined to overcome. Her family were so excited to be there, her girls had been begging to come back. Brad asked the young girls to read a few passages from the Bible and they were ever so proud, so keen, so present. The group of all-sorts who so often got distracted, sat in silence to hear God's word spoken by these sweet children.

God was in our midst. Love and grace were over-flowing.





It was a special evening with the opportunity to bless those truly in need with a good meal, friendship and a listening ear. I was only there for one night but I was even more encouraged to know these faithful few (like so many other wonderful groups out there) are there every week - bringing love and grace, support and food to a group in need of all these things to varying degrees. Things that are free for the taking - some may be accepted, some may not. The choice is theirs but I am thankful to see and more determined in my own life to make sure these simple gifts are always on offer - because who knows, they could make all the difference.

In my life and faith, I have seen that it is far too easy to get caught up in my own day to day happenings . We think and pray for those 'less fortunate', we even give our hard earned dollars, but it is a far different thing to give our time - to get amongst them, to see them as real people, to hear their stories, and to show them the love and grace and compassion that Jesus embodied. I know it is what God wants from us. It was the place where Jesus spent most of his time, among those who society often dismissed and dispelled.

I also know that different seasons allow for different freedoms in our lives - when I was younger, single, child-free, life allowed me more easily to be involved in such activities, I even travelled overseas for three years to help the poor and the lost and to share God's love in any way I could. Now it is not so easy to find that time and opportunity and yet... I know and fully trust that God gives us all ways that we can help others - right here and right now. With a young family, yes, I am limited in how I can help the disadvantaged and the down-trodden - but I am not limited in all ways. I do not consider my circumstances restricted because I know that raising children is a good and godly thing to do, and this is a fleeting season which I am determined to relish and embrace. In fact, I have the honoured task of showing my two precious children the world outside our middle-class doorway, giving them a heart for the struggling in our community.and eyes to see the love God has for every one of us, with sweet hands to carry out the work.

I am grateful for that night in inner-city Brisbane, receiving much more encouragement and blessing than I could give out. My heart was moved, humanity rose up inside me. Maybe I felt a touch wistful for the days where I could dedicate my life full time to such noble endeavours but also, after prayer and reflection, am fully at peace with the task before me - raising a family, opening their hearts. Helping where I can, doing what seems good and fruitful, following my conscience. The acts may be on a smaller scale but God is just as big. I believe God puts good works in front of us each day, a chance to be blessed through blessing others, and so my prayer is that my eyes will be open to those opportunities before me... and I will never stop seeking them out.... and seizing the chance to act.





5 comments:

  1. How great you had the opportunity to do this! I know what you mean about different seasons of life... I am finding motherhood very rewarding but it does have its frustrations and seeming limitations too. However you are exactly right - God will provide you different kinds of opportunities depending on the season he has placed you in!
    See you soon, neighbour :o) Kat xo

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    1. hey neighbour!!! thanks for reading and commenting! yes you are right, esp when new to parenting it takes a while to adjust to those limitations on the freedoms we once had, huh! but yeah - i rest in the thougth that this ministry (children, family) is SOOO important to God - and that there are special ways we can give and help others in this current lifestyle too - like hospitality!

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  2. I am loving your enthusiasm and warmth which are glowing in every line you write! Thanks for your voice of hope and love in a world which desperately needs it.

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    1. aw thanks Penny for commenting!! (and reading!) xx

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  3. What a generous thing to do. yes it was one night but like you have mentioned there will be times in your life where you will be able to give back big time and then other times where your circumstances mean those opportunities aren't within your reach. I am certain when looking back on your life so far you have given back a great deal already :)

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