On the way there we talked about what kind of people we might encounter and that no matter what their outward appearance might be that they should be treated with love and respect. Smile, be friendly and most of all serve them as if you were waiting on a very special guest.
From my perspective, we live in a community where the disadvantaged are mostly invisible. A small town in the midwest with lovely parks, nice places to eat, and good schools. You generally don't see people who resemble the homeless and I don't think I've ever seen anyone hanging out in the streets begging. You can generally go about your business and not be made to feel "uncomfortable" by the less fortunate. I think that might be a bad thing.
You see there are people who society deems the have nots or disadvantaged living in every community. To pretend they don't exist in the places we live is wrong. When I looked at the room filled with hungry people who had waited outside in the freezing weather, I did not see statistics. I saw worn and weathered faces of sisters, brothers, grandparents, sons, daughters, fathers and mothers. Each of them children of God. Each with a story uniquely theirs.
The reality is that any one of us is one job loss, one medical diagnosis, one bad decision or one tragedy away from being THAT person.
I don't know that a bowl of soup and a friendly smile made a difference to anyone going through our line, but I do know that I was blessed by serving. My children were blessed by serving. We will do it again and I hope you will think about doing it to.
There will always be poor people in the land.
Therefore I command you to be openhanded
toward your brothers and toward the
poor and needy in your land.