Sweet & Sticky!

Two winters ago, I was part of a team from Stone Church that opened and operated “The Station” – a homeless outreach in an old pool hall in downtown Yakima, WA.  Seven days a week, we served breakfast, built relationships and helped upwards of 80 homeless, poor and broken people each day.  Day after day, we heard stories of struggles, pain, brokenness, rejection and loneliness.  We knew we were there for a purpose.  One particular day, Rob, a “new comer” to The Station came in for breakfast.  He grabbed a hot bowl of oatmeal, a banana and a cup of coffee and sat down alone at our center table to eat.  One of our volunteers Jeff was just getting his own breakfast and asked Rob if he could sit with him.  I’m not sure all the specifics of their conversation, but after a short period of time, they separated ways – Rob left The Station to go about his “business” and Jeff stayed after for our daily Bible Study.  But, as we would soon realize, their seemingly brief encounter was nothing short of God appointed.

The next day, Rob again came into the Station, but this was no ordinary day for Rob, for he proceeded to tell us that he wasn’t supposed to be “here.”  Yesterday when he woke up, he had plans to commit suicide that day.  He would go down to The Station, have breakfast, get into his car and drive out to some remote place and … Obviously, God had another plan (The mind of the man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps – Prov. 16:9). He told us that he had convinced himself that no one cared about him – he was alone – no one would miss him anyway – he had no purpose so what was the use.  He had lost all hope. But that day, God was about to use Jeff to save a life.  God was about to use Jeff to show Rob that He loved him and hadn’t abandoned him.  Jeff said that their conversation wasn’t really anything spiritually mind-blowing or oozing of bible verses, but he knew in his spirit that God wanted him to talk with Rob.  It was just simple talking – one man to another about life, God and oatmeal. Rob told us “All I needed was to know that one person cared about me – that one person would miss me if I was gone.  For me, that day, Jeff was the man – he came to my rescue.”

This incredible story reminds me of 2 Corinthians 5:16 – “So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view.” How easy is it for us to evaluate people from an outward appearance.  What if Jeff had judged Rob from the outside and decided not to talk with him that day because of how he looked, talked, smelled, his attitude, etc.   What if Jeff wouldn’t have taken the time to connect with this homeless man when he had a God-prompting? How many times have we judged someone based upon their outward appearance and either went into avoidance mode, made jokes or was critical – the homeless man with the sign on the street corner, the raddy looking single mom at Walmart, the annoying neighbor or foul-mouthed coworker or the rude clerk at the grocery store.  How does God look at them?  Does He see the man on the corner as homeless?  Does He see the single mom at Walmart as raddy or the co-worker as annoying?  “For we are (all) God’s masterpiece (artwork), created in Christ Jesus…” (Eph. 2:10).  I do believe that God looks at all of His creation in love – not as losers, or bums, or worthless… but as His unique, valuable work of art – regardless of what they may be like on the outside.  I would venture to say that God would want us to look at people the same.  We are not called to judge others, but to love them.  Besides, what’s more appetizing… honey or vinegar?  Let’s be like honey to those around us – sweet and sticky!

So, the challenge for us is this – the next time we see someone and our first reaction might be to judge them based upon outward appearance… let’s at least pray for them and smile big!  Be open to being used by God to show His love to the “unlovely”  – look for those opportunities.  Jesus boiled all the laws of the prophets down to just two… to love God and to love people and I don’t see any specific criteria on who the “people” are.   I’m pretty sure it covers everyone. Also, these two commands do go hand in hand – to love God means to love His creation… and all of it.  To love people (His creation) is to love God.  I think He planned it that way!

“Those who mock the poor, insult their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God – Prov. 14:31 & 17:5). Let’s not insult and mock God by insulting and mocking His creation.  Umm… I think that’s a bad idea!  Instead, let’s look at people from God’s perspective and respond to them accordingly.  Be sweet & sticky!

Lord, please forgive us for judging, mocking and criticizing others.  Help us to love all of your creation and help us to see others how you see them.  Lord we pray for opportunities to love the unlovely and in turn show them Your love – not the way the world gives it, but how You give it.  Amen!

  1. Deb says:

    Another great post, thanks for the reminder. You are awesome!!

  2. Mom says:

    Brian, the sweet & sticky clothed in the Spirit is beautiful, it touched my heart, it helped me. You’re such a great writer!! love to you and Deb Mom

    • Brian Hetzer says:

      Thank you Mom! This is challenging for all of us – our “flesh” wants to judge everything around us and it’s usually according to our own standard… not God’s. I love you!

  3. Jonathon Woods says:

    I am really happy to read your postings. I love the story about Jeff & Rob. Your so awsome Brian keep up the good works.

  4. Brian Hetzer says:

    Hey Jon – I’m glad you liked it! You can have each blog automatically emailed to you when they are posted by ‘clicking’ on the “Sign Me Up” button on the right column. Love you! Brian

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