Courage in Ministry AWARD - Whatever I spoke of at the CCBA meeting, it was not me speaking, rather it was HS speaking thru me. Since some of the folks have asked me to repeat, I will make some record of it. Here it is.
Here is the hand written note. They told me that I had 6 min.
Here is the bit more organized version of it.
I am honored, but mostly humbled, by this recognition of doing something that isn¡¯t such a big deal.
Many moons ago, while I was reading the Bible, I realized that our New Testament was filled with parables – you know ¡°the earthly stories with the heavenly meanings¡¦¡± and of course, our Jesus was the master of telling these stories. Even though He was the master at it, many of the parables He told can be interpreted according to how we want to hear it or justify it. However, in Matthew 25, Jesus tells the story of the ¡®The Sheep and the Goats¡¯ – not really a parable; rather, He was basically telling it straight up. The story goes – when you see a person who is thirsty, give him a drink. When you see a person who is hungry, feed them. When the person is a stranger, invite him in¡¦ no theological interpretation required. This also happens to be one of the songs performed by my favorite artist, Keith Green, under same title ¡®The Sheep and the Goats¡¯. Let me paraphrase what Jesus said: whatever you¡¯ve done for the least of my brethrens, you¡¯ve done it onto me. For those who did it, come and live with me forever. For those who did not, well there is a special place for you as well, and you ain¡¯t gonna like it.
Based on these, I figured, if I hung around the disadvantaged and oppressed ones, and do the right things, I might run into Jesus more frequently. Or at least, He and I would become buddies for long time.
When my son was in his 5th grade, I, no actually we, my son, Nathan and I, purposely became ¡®sort of a homeless¡¯ for 3 days, we not only got to see the real human being behind a homeless, in addition, we also got to experience the community of caring people. You see, we, Nathan and I, slept at the CityTeam shelter, walked the streets, ate out of trash cans, and rode the ¡°Motel 22¡±(a blind gentleman in the front row knew of it) – you know the bus route that goes from SJ downtown to the Stanford Shopping center 24hrs a day – where it becomes a safe and a warm place for lots of folks to spend rainy and cold nights in. When we got on the bus, and was looking for empty seats, I noticed that well dressed folks will purposely put their suit cases or backpacks on the seat next to them to prevent us from sitting next to them. But the homeless folks would scoot over to make an empty space for us to sit in. While we were standing in the line for the free meals at the CityTeam shelter, one of the homeless person started a small chat with me, and at the end of our conversation, he pulls out a hard-boiled egg, all cracked and no longer white color, and a can of Diet Pepsi out of his deep pocket and slips them into my pocket. And he tells me ¡°it¡¯s gonna get better, take good care of your son, these will come in handy when you are really hungry.¡± Let me tell you something folks, nobody wanted to talk with us, let alone sit next to us. Only words of encouragement came from none other than a homeless person, which I think he might¡¯ve been Jesus himself.
I strongly believe that if we, the Xians and the Southern Baptists live according to a simple teachings like Matt 25, we are not going to have too many vacant seats left in our churches. The mission field is all around us. Of course, we need to go overseas, but we have our IMB for that. We must realize our mission field right here in our own back yard as well, and we can all be missionaries that Jesus has called us to be. In our own work places; in our schools; in our own families¡¦ I don¡¯t need to tell you all these, you all know better. Let us start with simple and basic stuff.
By the way, since my encounter with that gentle and caring homeless person 11 years ago, I mostly drink Diet Pepsi to this day - because it keeps me in check.
Again, I¡¯m honored and humbled. Thank you and God Bless.
After the meeting, a lady approached me and told me that she really appreciated the talke because she had a situation where some guys were bothering her because of her tattoo, a homeless guy stepped in to helper her out and escort her to her house.
A gentleman came up to me and said ¡°thank you for letting me see that there is a real human behind that homeless, we just don¡¯t think about that¡¦¡±
One lady said ¡°you made me cry¡¦..¡±