The Hands of Jesus
“A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.” Matthew 8:2-3 NIV
As Andrew came in the door last Wednesday at Dinner Church, I welcomed him and asked if this was his first time. He said, “It is.” I told him that we were glad he came and asked him if he had any prayer requests. He said, “I had been sober for four months, but I got back to drinking. I’m now trying to stay sober again and have made it five days.” I congratulated Andrew and encouraged him to try to get into a recovery program like Wheeler Mission and the Salvation Army have. He agreed that he needed help and that he would check the programs out.
Later that evening Steve Courchaine, one of our volunteers, sat down with Andrew and encouraged him to trust God to help him get on the road to recovery. Steve’s time with him gave Andrew the added support he needs to move ahead to a life without alcoholism. Volunteers at Dinner Church can have a tremendous amount of influence with our community members who come with numerous issues and struggles in their lives. Many do not have anyone to talk to who can support and encourage them. Dinner Church provides a safe place for them to share their lives.
Volunteers listen with a caring, accepting heart and do not judge. The homeless, the alcoholic, and drug addicted who live in poverty are often viewed as the “unclean,” like the lepers in the days of Jesus’ ministry. Unlike the religious elite who sought to avoid contact with the lepers, Jesus made it a point to be with them. In fact, Jesus not only allowed himself to come into contact with lepers, he actually touched their leprosy. Nobody touched a leper. But Jesus did.
Picture what Jesus did. Matthew tells us, “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. [And said,] “I am willing.” Jesus did not stand at a distance and feel sorry for the leper. He went to him and reached out to him with his hand and felt his leprosy. Actions are more powerful than words.
We can easily avoid having any contact with the poor and homeless. They live isolated lives in neighborhoods we avoid. But Jesus does not avoid them. He loves them. And we can love them too and show them Jesus loves them. That is why we formed a ministry like CCDC. We want to touch lives.
Our volunteers come to serve the meals. But more than this, they come to touch lives. They have been able to do this even with the COVID restrictions we have with masks and gloves. Such restrictions do not cover up their hearts or hide their smiles. Their love reaches out and touches those who come.
Those who cannot volunteer have helped support us by funding our meals and the other ways that we give to those in need. We appreciate the regular giving on a monthly basis that our supporters have committed to give. We need more CCDC supporters to meet the rising costs of meals and supplies and the growing need for rent and utility assistance.
Help us be the hands of Jesus reaching out and touching the lives of those in our neediest community.
May God’s Peace be with you,
Pastor Jim and Debby Riley