Those were Jesus' words, not mine.
You remember - - - the goats and the sheep gathered around the great throne and the goats received those horrible words, "I was naked and ye clothed me not, depart from me . . ."
But the sheep were told, "I was naked and ye clothed me, come, inherit the kingdom.
I've gotta be honest with you - - - I don't know how much clothing of the naked I've been doing.
Our new little church, Baker Street Community Church, which averages less than 100 on Sunday morning even counting the as yet unborn - - - is very aware of meeting the needs of the sick, naked, lonely, and hungry in our community.
We just celebrated a month of missions emphasis. Part of that celebration involved hanging of flags representing the various countries where we send money to support missions outreach.
The very first flag that was hung was our own, the Wisconsin Flag.
I thought to myself, "how appropriate!"
First of all appropriate because Jesus told his disciples they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and unto the utermost part of the Earth. Jerusalem represented their home town (Wisconsin Rapids) and Judaea was their equivalent of a state (Wisconsin). So FIRST we must minister to those AT HOME.
Secondly I found it very appropriate because I have been attending this church long enough now to KNOW that they take these words very seriously. I already knew they house the homeless on cold winter nights to take in strangers, participate in the community food pantry as well as maintain their own to feed the hungry, send out 4 groups to minister in nursing homes weekly or biweekly to visit the lonely, and keep a "Shepherd's Loft" to clothe the naked.
I've been challenged in my heart to find my place in these ministries. All it took to get involved was simply "raising my hand." My volunteering is my new "job," and I'm pretty sure it is what I am MEANT to be doing since I can no longer teach school.
Since January I've been teaching a KIDDs class on Wednesday nights. For a month and a half I've been going with a group to conduct a Sunday afternoon service in a nursing home. These two things have blessed my heart to no end - - - but that is the story of another post.
Last week I began volunteering three mornings a week in the Shepherd's Loft.
I help keep the shelves and racks well stocked as well as assist our customers. Some of them come in to randomly browse, others have several specific items which they need NOW.
Yesterday a lovely young lady came in excited because she had gotten a job after a long search. She'd just been hired as a waitress and needed white tops to wear for her uniform. She brought her darling little three year old daughter who was wearing great big white bug-eye sunglasses and a smile which matched the size of her glasses. How fun it was to help them scour the racks for white tops - - - we found 7. She's off and running on her way to being able to support herself once again.
Her first day on the job is today. I wonder how she is doing.
The Shepherd's Loft is very organized and well run. Above you can see our main shop floor.
This is the shoe room. Shoes neatly organized in boxes, the sides clearly labeled into categories like "Women Size 6."
This is David, another volunteer. He has designated himself "box boy." He not only brings in new boxes but helps us keep the filled, sealed, boxes organized.
This is one of David's neat box rooms. Each box is filled with items that aren't needed on the floor yet. They are clearly labeled (example: "Girls 6-12 Winter") before they are stacked.
Lately I've been boxing up winter things and bringing out summer boxes, unpacking them, and placing them where they go on the floor.
This is Josh. He's been volunteering every week day morning since long before we moved here. He knows most everyone by name and greets them with a smile.
Sometimes others drop by to volunteer their time. This is John, he was perched above our heads one day working on a wiring issue.