Cold air gripped me the moment I crawled out of bed. Our furnace had died.
My handy husband made several good attempts to fix it, while I stayed wrapped in my soft afghan, sipping a hot cup of coffee. I figured I’d soon enjoy a comfy, warm house again!
Instead, my nose and toes grew colder. I threw another blanket over me that wintry day, but I couldn't escape the chilly sensation. It triggered a burdensome thought. How do the homeless survive these freezing temperatures without adequate food and clothing? With my bible open, Jesus’ words fueled my discomfort, “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes…” (Matthew 25:35-36 MSG).
Immediately, I remembered the shivering, older man, propped against a building in Westport. He arrested our attention the moment John and I left Broadway Cafe. Our carefree moments together quickly shifted to some serious dialogue. “Is there some way we can help him?” We decided on buying him a cup of McDonald’s hot coffee and three cheeseburgers. I handed him the food; he reciprocated with a blank stare.
Shortly after our furnace incident, my daughter, Ally, just happened to share her concerns for the poor and needy. It was no coincidence! “Let’s pray!” I said.
The Lord led me to Isaiah 58. God’s people had been fasting, yet it was an offense to Him because while fasting they treated each other with contempt! He resisted their religious duties and challenged them to examine their hearts. “This is the kind of fasting I want…Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.”
After more prayer, I asked my church family to consider how we could walk out God’s desires to help those with needs.
“A New Day” was launched and now occupies our over sized basement garage! I no longer wonder what God had in mind for those 400 extra square feet. It’s now brimming with men’s, women’s, children’s clothing and non-perishable food.
I’m discovering needy people also occupy middle-upper class suburbs. Single parents, the unemployed, the ex-prisoner, and the elderly. A New Day also serves victims of house fires, babies born to unwed mothers, and abused women.
After washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).
Hanging and folding clothes for A New Day seems pretty insignificant to me at times. Then I remember Jesus' love for me and my heart overflows with gratitude. I cheerfully press on! There’s no such thing as a small act of serving…unimportant or not worth doing in Jesus’ eyes. Whenever I serve Him, He is pleased and so am I!
(If you're aware of anyone with food or clothing needs, contact A New Day! We will be glad to help. If you’re led to volunteer time to “A New Day” or make donations, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!)