In every city in every country there is someone sitting with their hand out. Have you any change you can spare. Usually no eye contact. Usually “feet contact”. Passers-by now immune to this daily spectacle. Is this a genuine homeless person. Is this a “homed and making extra income” person – a fake. How do I know. I know they will spend it on booze and drugs. I know “helping” – do they? How will they use my help?
That kind of stuff goes through my head as I go my way in London. In London there seem to be more hands out than elsewhere in my life.
And when I have stopped there is always a story. Handing over some change (whilst trying to avoid any physical or eye contact) is one way. Hunkering down and sharing some time is another. Because I am finding that each has a story. Each is always me or you a few decisions ago. You or me are them a few decisions from now. Fake from real? I find fake has no story. Stories take time. Gets in the way of money. Just one small irritant. I have to get a little dirty in the finding out.
As Jesus went on his way, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” And their eyes were opened.” Matthew 9:27-31
The noisy hands out are the ones I avoid. Usually drink or drugs or mental. Dangerous. Best avoided. Don’t make eye contact. Feet contact only. Hope they latch on to someone else. So just how would I react if they “followed me into a house”?
On the outside – looks in control. But on the inside – wetting myself! Not a shred of “balance”. Fear and balance don’t go together. Usually.
But hey Paul … Jesus wasn’t alone. Never alone. Always the disciples, the followers, the curious, the bored, the hopeful. He had minders. He was safe. He had no need for fear when two oddballs follow Him. Happens all the time. Just another day as they go on their way.
I hear Him speaking across the years … across the miles … across the culture and traditions of that time and place … right into my time and my place …
“If you are not blind you cannot see. And if you can see you are usually blind. These two blind people are my story if you have the time to listen. They knew I could. They didn’t know I would. But they know me – they follow me. They put down their knowing what why when how where when will. They know me. And they follow me. Not knowing at all.”
And I pause.
Know me. Follow me. No knowing.
Hands up those who can say they live their own follower lives this way. I can’t. Except for this. More and more I know when I am copping out. More and more I know when others are copping out. Good followers. Kind followers. Well intentioned followers. How to tell real from fake? Always stories. My story.
How when “my eyes were opened” that is when “real” became visible. I want to know what why when how where when will. I hear others say no because they want to know what why when how where when will. When my eyes opened that is when faith became what why when how where when will. And that is what I see more and more. I see followers whose eyes are open and who cannot see.
“According to your faith let it be done to you.”
You ever heard these “follower stories” … ?
I would love to have your faith. If I had your faith we could move mountains. Your faith inspires me. We should have more of you around. We could really change things then. Just imagine 12 today with the faith of the apostles! That’s a great idea – we should be doing that – just we don’t have the money right now. Let me take that to the next … I can’t see how we could do that right now. Let’s all pray on this and add it to the agenda for next …
When your eyes are opened … is that when faith is a bummer?