Curbside Pickup

This article is not about pulling up to the curb for our groceries or take-out orders in the era of COVID; it is about the pickup of the spirit.

As we pass through the city, do we notice the people out on the curbsides?  The ones who sit at the corners asking for donations of money, transportation, work, food, or alcohol?  What do we do when we see them?  Quicken our pace?  Avert our eyes?  Feel a wash of fear come over us?  I have done all of the above.

But what if we joined them on the curb?  What if we stopped to pick up their burdens?  What if we stopped to pick up their spirits? 

It can be a scary prospect to think of approaching these strangers, especially as a woman, but inside, their hearts need love just like ours do.  I have had some incredible promptings from God at times to approach these souls on the curbside.  Some amazing things have happened!  Not only have their spirits been lifted, but mine has been as well.  These experiences have been imprinted on my heart.

People are weary and worn, carrying heavy loads on their shoulders and in their hearts and minds.  Even the ones who are not homeless but are just sitting on the curbside during their break times from work or to wait for the bus are carrying loads.  But a smile and a kind word from us can make a world of difference.  Giving food can fill their hungry stomachs.  Giving them the address of a place where they can receive assistance offers them hope.  Giving our time and a listening ear gives them a sense of dignity and worth.  Giving them a hug or a handshake can bring them comfort.  And if we discover they don’t know the love of God, sharing that with them is the greatest help of all as it meets their deepest need—the need of their souls.

Let us remember and care for those in need.  It is the pickup we all need.  Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive.1 

And on second thought, perhaps I will mention us doing our curbside pickup from the restaurant or the grocery store; the souls who bring our orders to us are important to God.  Let’s see if we can pick up their spirits at the curbside.

Have a wonderful week!

~Francee


“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Acts 20:35

He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.

Proverbs 19:17

The rich and the poor have this in common, The Lord is the maker of them all.

Proverbs 22:2

He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor.

Proverbs 22:9


NOTES

1 See Acts 20:35.

Scriptures taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

©Text and photo by Francee Strain, May 23, 2021.

Gratitude vs. Grumblitude

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(Originally posted November 28, 2019)

Happy Thanksgiving! Or is it? What is the attitude of our hearts? Are we exhibiting gratitude or grumblitude? What exudes from our beings? Sweetness or sourness? Compliment or complaint?

Sometimes, we lose perspective on what is important, and we come down with a case of the grumbles. I hear it in the voices around me. I hear it coming out of my own mouth. “I wish my house….” “I wish I had a….” “I wish I could____, but no, I am stuck with_____.”

So, how can we quell the flow of such unthankful thoughts coming from our hearts, minds, and mouths? We change our perspectives and take in new things so that we in turn can pour them out.

God reigns in the kingdom of men. It is He who holds our very breaths. What a magnificent thought.

What can I see, touch, hear, feel, taste, and do? Perhaps some of my limbs and senses do not function, but I still have some amount.

Have I eaten? Slept under a roof, even if it belonged to a shelter? Worn clothes? Experienced warmth? Had joy at some point in my life? Yes. Yes, I have.

So, the fact that my car is fifteen years old, dented (that pole in the parking garage should not have been in my way), and buried under years of country dust because I cannot lift the hose and brush to clean it should still be a cause for gratitude.

The fact that my couch is seventeen years old, worn, sagging, has shot springs, and has a piece of wood frame jutting out should not be a source of grumbling.

The fact that I am living in a manufactured home, which needs repairs and landscaping, rather than living in my dream Victorian mansion with park-like gardens should not faze the attitude of my heart.

The fact that I play a piano I bought out of the want ads rather than play a concert grand from the music store (which would have cost more than I paid for my home, by the way) humbles my heart because God miraculously gifted me with a beautiful instrument and the gift of music.

In all of these places, I have been blessed. In all of these places, God has come near. In all of these places, I have wept with others, rejoiced with others, and listened to their hearts, as they have done for me.

God has drawn near in other places, as well, with possessions I have only held temporarily. A value menu sandwich filled the tummy of a homeless man instead of mine while we sat together on the curb in sub-freezing December temperatures. But there, while I sat next to him with my tummy grumbling, I was filled with gratitude. His tummy was now full and grateful. I heard his heart. I looked into his eyes. And I knew what mattered that day–not my sandwich, not my needs, not my collection of money to be spent on little things for myself that day or set aside for bigger things someday down the road–it was our hearts that mattered. What mattered was eternal, and God gave us both a perspective to see as He sees. This man heard of the love that Jesus has for him, that had searched him out even in this lowest of places. It was a holy moment as God drew near. He wept with me and this man. And He rejoiced with me and this man. And He heard both of our hearts. For this moment, I will ever be grateful.

Yes, for all these things, and much more, I will express gratitude rather than grumblitude. I am humbled by the grace of God that has searched me out even in my lowest of places.

So, whether you join me in my well-used car, on my well-used couch, in my well-used home, on a freezing concrete curb, or just through the words on this page, I pray you will hear how much God loves you and that His grace is searching for you.

Welcome to grace and gratitude.

But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
(Psalm 13:5-6 NKJV)

©Text and photo by Francee Strain, November 28, 2019. Reposted November 20, 2020.