Words spoken with aggression, words filled with hate. Spoken as if speaking to a the most ugly of animals. "I AM STRONGER THAN YOU AND I'M TELLING YOU THAT YOU CAN'T BE HERE."
The substance of something, transferred through the tongue, not love, not compassion.... Judgment, accusation, belittlement, pride........ The sound that screamed, "You are not worthy of being here, you must GO!"
Bex and I have been in Cape Town for 48 hours celebrating 10 years of marriage. A huge, "Thank you!" to those that have made it possible for us to escape without the blessing of our five children. More on that another time perhaps - Cape Town is a truly wonderful place. I head to the U.S. tomorrow for a couple of weeks and am taking some time to let Him order my thoughts before I go. While sitting at a cute cafe about to write I was suddenly distracted by something that took centre space in my heart. A broken, dirty, one-armed man approached me. A man that looked like he hadn't eaten. Death in his eyes. Desperation in his eyes. Eyes that screamed, "Please help me. I need help. I..... just...... can't...... anymore....."
I am seated on the edge of the cafe next to the small picket fence in the above photo and he came and stood next to the fence. Brokenness at my door.....
The thing is, when I saw him, I didn't see a man that was unfamiliar to me. I didn't see a man different to me. Truth is, when I looked at this man, I saw me. I will never forget the moments in my life in which Christ has revealed to me just how much I need Him. How utterly dependant I am on His compassion and the undeserved generosity he lavishes upon me, the substance of the Father's heart.
Don't we get it? We are the dirty, we are the broken, we are the ones that have not, and He is the One that has. "I reach out to You, and You find me in the dust....."
Anybody who has spent any reasonable amount of time in a country with poverty will recognise that giving money to beggars on the street is not a long-term; or ideal solution. There are readily available questions such as, "How will giving enough money for today change the ongoing reality for this person? What will the money be spent on?" Statements such as, "You have to grow a person's capacity to empower them for a lifestyle change," are all, perhaps valid from a certain lens. The problem with this area of thinking is that it spends its time responding to poverty, instead of responding to the presence of God.
HE IS EVERYWHERE.
When I sit in a cafe in Cape Town, He is here. When a beggar approaches me, He is here. As my King, my Leader, my trusted Friend, my Redeemer, should I not simply ask Him what His heart feels right now, and how would He have me respond?
I will not stand before the Lord and give an account for how a beggar spent the money I gave him. The beggar will give his own account for that. I will stand before the Lord and give an account of my intimacy with Him, my obedience to Him, my willingness to have His heart imprinted upon my own until our hearts are the same. I will answer to Him whether or not I gave money when He desired me to, when I stopped my, "busy life," to go and buy a hungry man food. When I saw a child in need and made my heart available for our King to reside there, and outwork His purposes from there. I will give an account for the times I moved when He wasn't asking me to and moved outside His grace in the moment. I will give an account for how I moved as He moved, and stopped as He stopped, rested and He rested, acted as He acted.
And so I asked Him, and strongly felt to give this man, this brother of mine, some money and some food. As I reached into my bag a woman selling jewellery with her husband outside the cafe rushed over and with aggression told him there was no begging here. I hurriedly gave him what I had as he was shooed away. Like a dog that wasn't wanted, wasn't loved. Not your dog, not a western world dog. A poor dog. A dirty dog. A broken creature. Told to go somewhere else...
WHERE SHOULD HE GO?
I am no longer ashamed of weeping in public - why should I be when I am with my Jesus who is weeping also?
AND MY JESUS CRIES OUT, "BRING HIM TO ME...." WILL YOU?!!? I AM READY FOR HIM, FOR YOU AND HIM. COME TOGETHER!!"
Yasha never has been, nor ever will be about responding to poverty or need. Instead, with the now-easy recognised revelation that He truly saved me and I daily, need His saving; it is my pleasure to allow Him to take up residence in my heart and move as He pleases from my heart. Using my body, my mind, my resources, until that great and glorious day when my heart recognises with great joy that none of it is mine anymore.... Please Jesus, take me there.
We will be writing again soon asking you to pray about partnering with us - we need the strength of Christ in His body to walk what we feel called to walk. Our prayer would be that you would not respond to us, to the mission, or to the need. But instead, you would simply ask Him, "King, should I give? If so, how much?"
We believe it really is that simple.
The near final letters - "What's in my heart? Am I truly willing to let Him in so that He may see me, and change me, so that I look exactly like Him? Am I willing to be known by the King?"
Love you big. More than can be typed. We pray you are found today resting in Him.