My dear readers, I have a favor to ask. I do so very rarely, so I hope you’ll give it your careful consideration.
When Lea and I went church shopping six years ago, we ended up staying with the first place we attended. We chose Good Shepherd for several reasons, but perhaps the largest was its ordering of priorities. We belong to a church that expends tremendous effort on actually helping real people. One of our pastor’s favorite directives is to “be the hands and feet of Christ.” Show the love of Jesus to those who need it.
(Note that he doesn’t say “be the mouth of Christ.” Hands and feet are instruments of action, not words.)
Meet Bill Istad. Formerly homeless and estranged from his children, Bill has worked very hard this year to get his feet back under him and a normal life back. Good Shepherd has supported him as needed, with schooling, housing, and so forth.
Really, it’s been a great deal, because I think Bill has blessed us back tenfold.
It’s an experience to talk to him; to realize what “back from the brink” can really mean. When he came to visit with a Sunday school class I was teaching a couple of months ago, he shared a bit with the children about what being homeless is like. One phrase that sticks with me is “whether it’s really yours depends on whether you can defend it.” This applies to your dinner, to your tarp, or anything. If you have something of value, someone will try to take it from you.
Can anyone reading this truly relate to that? If you’re reading blogs in your spare time, it’s a safe bet you’re rather further up Maslow’s hierarchy than that, isn’t it?
My friend Brent Morgan has organized a small campaign to give Bill a good start to the next part of his life for Christmas. He’s written a song for him, and Brent’s very talented, so that’s a present for you.
Bill is a real guy with a radically changed heart. He’s a walking, talking example of the redemption God makes possible. He’s rebuilding relationships with his children. He’s working for a living. He’s inspiring everyone privileged enough to spend time with him.
A dollar for Bill is not a dollar down a rathole of dubious federal entitlement. It’s a dollar that really does help a real man. Please think carefully about whether you can help Bill as part of your Christmas. Thank you for your consideration.