Open Your Eyes

While a student at Wheaton College in the late ’60s, I was part of a student ministry team that weekly sought to touch the lives of the homeless with the love of Christ. We would travel by bus to downtown Chicago on Sunday mornings.

I’ll never forget being dropped off, walking about a block and then turning the corner onto Madison Street and seeing hundreds of men gathered on the sidewalks. They were truly down and out and in need of encouragement. Our goal was to listen, share the gospel when appropriate, and “be Jesus” to those we met.

One chilly March morning, one of the older students, John, led devotions for us before we left the bus. He read Christ’s words from Matthew 6:38-42. Then he challenged us to go the “extra mile” with people we met that morning. We prayed and then headed out in pairs to spend three hours among dear people whom Jesus loved. 

Afterward, as we boarded the bus to take us back to the college, we noticed John was wearing a different coat than he’d had on that morning. He now wore an old, torn, black leather jacket with a gang insignia on the back. And when he opened his coat, we saw that he had on a different shirt as well! On the ride back, we demanded, “All right, John, tell us what happened!”

John recounted his conversation with a homeless man he had been building a relationship with over several weeks. The man said that he might have caught a break to help him get off the streets. He had landed a job interview, which was scheduled for that coming week. However, he didn’t have a nice shirt to wear for the interview and asked John if he would lend him his. Remembering what he had read in Matthew 6, John switched shirts with him and then said, “Because Jesus loves you, here, take my coat also.”

We never heard from him again. We hoped his interview had gone well and he was able to find employment. Even more, we hoped he had come to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

This experience touched me deeply. Even now, it challenges me to let Jesus open my eyes and show me ways to serve others for His sake. I’ve never forgotten the example of a humble young man, John, who not only read the Scriptures but obeyed them! 

Oh, I failed to mention that this young student, John Abraham, was blind. But God gave him “eyes” to see the needs of people around him and to help meet them for Jesus’ sake.
 
Why not read afresh Jesus’ words in Matthew 6? As you do, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your spirit about how to make it practical in your life and experience. 


Bob Reusser directs the Nav Encore Mission of The Navigators. You can learn more about his ministry here.

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