"If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:3, NIV).
In an article on the Heartlight website, Rubel Shelly wrote,
"Jack (a homeless man) was open to questions. So Josh (a follower of Christ who wanted to help Jack) dared to ask him what good-intentioned people with charitable hearts could do that would make a difference for the poor and homeless. 'Make us feel real,' he said. 'We want to feel like we are real people. See us. Talk to us. Be with us. Help us feel. It isn't just about feeding us or giving us clothes. It's about seeing us.'
"Now there's a lesson that do-gooders like me need to learn! We know what Jesus taught about visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, and clothing the naked. And we know that faith without works is dead. So we send get-well cards or visit hospitals. We donate money and build soup kitchens. We drop off used clothing. All those are good things.
"But what about personal awareness? What about communicating a person's worth? What about making her feel valued rather than pitied? And how do I let someone know he is a human being to me, not a project?"
The entire article may be found at http://www.heartlight.org/articles/20070315_seeingus.html.
Mr. Shelly asked the right questions. Following Jesus means learning how to love people, not just good causes.