I don’t know the lady’s name. I know what people call her but I don’t think that’s her real name. Let me tell you what I learned from her…
There is in her city a Bridge Community. I mean it is a community that lives under one of the major bridges not far from the center of town. She fell in love with them. All three hundred of them. She wanted to tell them of Jesus’ love, but her heart said, “You can’t tell them about how much Jesus loves them if they’re hungry.
So every Tuesday for the last 15 years she has taken her crew of volunteers under the bridge and provided a hot meal for all 300 of them, adults, children, elderly, the working poor, those with passports and those without. She raises the money, trains her helpers, buys the food, and drafts a religious leader from the community and gives him/her eight minutes to tell them how much Jesus loves them. And they listen.
She also solicits clothes and distributes them. Through some of the trained medical and dental professionals she drafts she provides some simple health care. And job skills. The project has been going on long enough that many from the Bridge Community have been able to work their way out of poverty; some of them even come back now on Tuesdays to help. And scores of them show up regularly in area churches.
She explains, “Nearly 400 times in Scripture God speaks of His love for the hungry, the homeless, the sick, and those in prison. They represent the ache in His heart for the needy.” Rather that wring her hands, she gathers her people together to pray that God will lay on their hearts the same compassion He has. And then they work to demonstrate that love in tangible ways. She has taught me much.
But there’s more. Recently she visited one of the nations in the Islamic world. About 98% of the population claim loyalty to a different god than the Creator. As she walked the streets of the capital she found herself praying, “God, I want to be so bold as to ask that you will show us how we can reach a million people in this city with the gospel.” She mused, “I thought God would be pleased that I should make such an audacious request. But then in my heart I sensed God’s reply. I thought I heard Him say, ‘But there are 4 1/2 million people here, what do you suggest I do with the other 3 1/2 million?’” She said, “I had no answer.”
I learned so much from this precious lady who is half my age and whose real name I didn’t even know. I learned that (1) if I wish to represent the heart of God I must be ready to offer help to those in need, and (2) that I need to expand my prayer commitment to the lost. All of them.
By Don Jacobsen