For several years now I’ve worked with the homeless, inner-city, and disenfranchised in some capacity at different levels.  I’ve driven through the flattened and scattered neighborhoods of Moore, Oklahoma.  I’ve visited dirty children and broken people in the inner-city neighbors of Nashville and high-rise government-housing in New York City.  I’ve handed out plate after plate of food to the needy in downtown Atlanta.  I’ve given rides to strangers, I’ve listened to stories, and I’ve watched people survive like animals because it’s all they had left.  Survival.  Addiction.  Pain.

I’ve also avoided Jesus, when I saw Him in those places.  I’ve not stopped and given money.  I’ve averted my eyes.  I’ve found something else to do so I wouldn’t have to talk to that man who smells bad or who makes no sense when he speaks.  I’ve engulfed myself in busy work so I didn’t have to love any deeper than duty.  I’ve reduced them to a project to be done, a to-do list.

Ultimately, whether intentional or not, I’ve elevated myself above them.

Mother Teresa believed that in order to serve people as she would serve Jesus, she had to live like they lived, with nothing.  She, and those that served with her, had little or no possessions and gave to the people beside them, rather than serving downward.

Mother Teresa Serves Child

We are meant to help those in need, yes, and I’m not pushing a poverty-gospel agenda, necessarily.  What I am pushing is the realization that when comes to sin and love, we are all drowning in our own humanity.

I find myself groveling at Jesus’ feet uttering those words found in Luke 18:13:

 But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

Physically, I have what I need.  I have a job, a home, friends, family, and a meal.

My heart however, is just as desperately in need of His love and forgiveness as everyone else.  I crave His affection, knowing that I’m so unworthy.

The artists known as Showbread said it well in their song, “Matthias replaces Judas.”

Jesus my heart is all I have to give to you,
So weak and so unworthy, this simply will not do
No alabaster jar, no diamond in the rough
For your body that was broken, how can this be enough?

By me you were abandoned, by me you were betrayed
Yet in your arms and in your heart forever I have stayed
Your glory illuminates my life, and no darkness will descend
For you’ve loved me forever, and your love will never end

If I’ve learned nothing else during my time as a terrible Nazirite, it’s that His grace, mercy, and love have no bounds and He consistently takes me back, no matter how much I betray Him.

This is why He is so deserving.  This is why I press on, trudging through my struggles, my pain, my selfishness.

“We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

And He continues to do so.

Because of Him,
Brent Hemphill


Also, if you’re just now joining my journey then please know that I will not be on Facebook during my time of consecration so any messages or requests you may have sent will not be responded to for quite some time. It’s not personal, it’s Jesus.

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