I caught just a glimpse of Jesus as I turned right from the exit ramp off the highway and onto Excelsior Boulevard Sunday afternoon.
But He looked like a she. She was young and round and sweating in the hot summer sun; holding a sign that said “Pregnant and Homeless”.
Only, apparently she hadn’t taken “Homelessness 101” because she wasn’t standing in the “right” spot where homeless folks camp – the spot where cars have to stop and it’s easy to hand something out the window.
No, this girl was standing kitty corner from my turn, facing the wrong way, in a place where it was virtually impossible for people to help if they wanted to.
“As you did it to the least of these you did it to Me. As you did it to the least of these you did it to Me…”
I drove on down the street with all this bouncing in my brain.
I had absolutely nothing in the car that I could give her. No cash, no gift cards, no shoes, or care kits that I sometimes carry.
Also, what if I found a way to get to her and I had to bring her home with me, and she moved in, and I had to take care of her and adopt her baby, and take care of her every need, you know, like forever? And what if she had mental problems or drug problems, or she smelled? And what if I totally lost my whole life?
I got home and started mowing the lawn. Back and forth, back and forth, listening to a podcast about following Jesus. I know. Ironic. I just passed Him on the corner and left Him there, but it’s so good to learn more stuff about following Him!
I wasn’t very engaged as I continued to mow and my mind wandered to a passage of Scripture in Mark 10 that a friend and I have agreed to read daily for a week. In verses 35-52 there are accounts of Jesus asking three different people “What do you want me to do for you?”
Often we’re encouraged to meditate on these passages and reflect on what it is we want Jesus to do for us. But as I mowed, I thought, “What if that’s the question He wants me to ask?”
“What do you want me to do for you?” “How can I help?”
Maybe following Jesus is simpler than projecting and solving and controlling. Maybe losing just a little of your life by taking the time to ask a question and respond is an ok place to start.
I finished the lawn, sweaty and with the smell of damp, fresh cut grass clinging to me. I jumped in the car with my question and headed back to the corner, hoping to find “Jesus” and ask what I could do. I parked in a parking lot near the inaccessible corner and looked, but she was gone.
I missed Him this time, but the question remains. Maybe I’ll be better prepared to pull it out next time Jesus shows up. On the corner, or at the office, or in my neighborhood, or in my family. “What do you want me to do for you?”