There are invisible people in our communities. They are all around us. Relax, I’m not going to tell you I once was abducted by aliens. They aren’t invisible to us in a physical sense. They are invisible to us to in a value sense. They are people we have a tendency to ignore because subconsciously or consciously we judge them to have little value. They are nameless people whom we walk right by or miss in a crowd. We tend to focus on people who we value as important to us… people who can do something to make us upwardly mobile, more successful, more important, more valued. We tend to use people around us who are higher on the importance scale and ignore those lower because they can’t help us with our personal goals or needs. Needless to say, this is NOT how Jesus views people… nor is it how his followers should view people. We need to learn from Jesus how to see Invisible people… Invisible people are ignored, marginalized, disenfranchised and powerless. Meet Curtis. Curtis is a street cleaner downtown and on skid row. I was on my way to work out at the gym downtown when I passed him on the street. He was just a guy in a vest with a broom in his hands and I had more important things to do. After all, most of us aren’t just wandering around on the street without somewhere important to be and important things to do.
I ran past him with a simple “hello”. On the next block I couldn’t get him out of mind for some reason. I finally realized the Spirit of God was prompting me to turn around and interact with him. But I’m busy! Now I’d have to back-track and he’ll think I’m stalking him. I had a number of good reasons to keep heading to the gym. I turned around and found him cleaning the gutter. He was working so we didn’t talk long. His name is Curtis. He works for minimum wage for a company which contracts with the city. I asked him why he just doesn’t get a government check instead of working for minimum wage. Curtis said, “that’s for lazy people. I’ve always worked for my money.” He used to make better money working in the oil rigging industry in more states than I can recall. He and his lady both work to get by. They live in a cheap apartment in the neighborhood. I told him the Spirit directed me to him and he said that’s probably because his mother asked Him to send someone. I prayed for him to do well in his work and for a promotion or better paying job and he smiled. Curtis was encouraged and I went back toward the gym. I never thought much about how the streets got cleaned or who did the work. I didn’t care that much… until today. God exposed me to Curtis. Now I care and I’ll be praying for Curtis and his fellow workers. How do you get someone to care about something they ought to care about? There’s only one way I know of… exposure! People need to be exposed to the person or cause before they can have a deeper emotional connection. That’s what these updates from skid row are all about… Exposure to what it’s like to live on skid row. My prayer is that through stories like this, more people will care more and do something to reach the least of these. I’d like to ask you to do a couple things if you’d like to care more and see more people care…
Would you pass this story on to someone? Ask them to sign up for the weekly devotionals and updates. It will expand the exposure to the needs on skid row.
Would you consider coming to skid row and taking a tour of the mission and meet some of my friends here? Come by yourself or bring a whole car load of friends. I believe God will use the exposure to transform your heart and develop a deeper compassion for the invisible people God sees everyday.
Would you pray for Curtis and people like him? And would you reach out to the invisible people who cross your path most days without being noticed? A little dialogue could go a long way towards encouraging someone who might be ready to give up. You never know what a little love can do to change the course of a person’s life. Listen to the Spirit and follow his lead.
- Pastor Dan