A Father’s Heart

“Daddy – the Father – is not angry; you can come home”   – 2 Corinthians 5:19

6:00 am came early this morning. But our team had a breakfast to serve and we had to find our way from Queens to the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The week of hard ministry is taking a physical toll on everyone, including this 40 year old. But sometimes we must push through, the blessing resides just around the corner.

Here was mine:

There are over 1,000 soup kitchens in Manhattan alone, so with just a little effort no one goes without a meal every day. My Floridian take on soup kitchens after logging some 300 hours in different kitchens around the Big Apple over the past 4 years is this – it’s not about ladeling another bowl of soup. It’s not about handing out stale unsold bread from local bakeries or even a cold cup of water on a hot day. It’s all about somehow communicating to a room full of hurting children of God that their Daddy – the Father – is not angry with them; they can come home.

Today I had the honor of participating with a group of new friends who knew how.

In 1998, Chuck and Carol established The Father’s Heart Ministry Center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The Center offers a unique blend of Holy Spirit led ministry, practical training, compassion ministries and classroom instruction. They have developed a discipleship curriculum that is taught every week in discipleship classes. The Father’s Heart Ministries is now feeding over 600 people weekly, providing them with literacy, job training, life skills, and discipleship classes.

This morning I had the privilege of joining their team. My job was to constantly take out the trash from the 8 barrels from around the dining hall. Each one of our 11 members had a specific job, and were trained and organized in a manner that allowed for peak efficiency – a must to serve 600 meals in a matter of 2 hours.

Prior to the doors opening we were arranged into a long 2 sided welcoming line. As the music played the doors opened and in filed our brothers and sisters. But for the grace of God, you and I would be with them. We cheered and greeted them with respect and dignity. They were our honored guests. Some shook our hands while others could not make eye contact. One man managed to look into my eyes and whisper a broken “thank you”. Until that moment I had managed to hold back my tears…had. Tears streamed down my cheeks.

The world has told them that they are worthless…failures…without hope. Our God tells us the exact opposite, and He allowed me to deliver His truth through an act of service this morning – ironic – taking out their trash.

For the next 2 hours we served and treated our guests as if they were royalty…because in the eyes of their Creator they are Royalty. For a moment I saw them through the eyes of our Father’s heart. For a moment we celebrated the love that can only come from the Jesus that lives inside of us.

One of the young girls on my team saw me crying and asked if I was ok…yes, I was ok. In fact, for a moment everything was right.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by suzanne hooker on June 9, 2007 at 4:59 PM

    What a blessing you are to God and to God’s people my son. He is using you and your team in a mighty way. I bet I know who actually is receiving the real blessing. Love you, Mom

  2. Beautiful story Roy…

  3. I can only second your Mother’s words…you are truly being His hands and feet and those young folks that are serving with you are learning some very important life lessons..I so look forward to hearing of your ministry reports!

  4. If only these types of actions were more understood in our nation. Constantly, we are told that Christians aren’t doing anything about poverty and the homelesss, and that we focus too much on social and political issues. If only those same people could see this ministry, then maybe those responses would be different.

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