Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: homeless

What Do You Do… When You’re All Tapped Out

The term tapped out refers to reaching a point of emptiness, unable to go any farther.  A mother breast feeding her child may hit a wall, unable to produce any more milk.  Despite an infant’s cries, mom is done.  A keg on a college campus is bound to dry up, tapped out from over use.  However, one of the most common examples today relates to a parent or student, burning the candle at both ends until they crash and burn from sheer exhaustion.

1. Acknowledge your condition – Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray, James 5:13a.

In the prime of my life, I worked 90 hours a week as a youth pastor.  On my only day off, I led a Bible Study at McDonald’s in the morning, drove to Cincinnati to meet a friend (a 90 minute drive one way) and came back by dinner time to attend an adult Bible Study which required extensive reading.  Sure, this sounds like a lot, but I was young.  After my wealthy church rejected a plea for a homeless guy, I let him stay on my couch at my apartment for six months.  To justify my raise after one year, my responsibilities tripled to include Confirmation, Coaching High School Basketball and Helping out with Young Life.

2. Find someone to confide in – If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up, Ecclesiastes 4:10.

Sometime after the first six months, I became comfortably numb, running on fumes.  Since I didn’t have anyone to intervene, I reached an emotional breaking point, unable to give anymore.  Thus, 14 months after starting my dream job, what I was born to do, I was forced to take a step back.  So… what do you do when you’re all tapped out?  Well, I went hiking on the Appalachian Trail with a mentor from high school, a former coach and Fellowship of Christian’s Athletes director.  Looking back now, most of this weekend was a blur, yet I needed to retreat before I could go any further.

3. Find a quiet place to meet with God – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed, Mark 1:35.

Before he became king of Israel, David had his own issues.  The king, who just happened to be his best friend’s dad was trying to kill him, jealous of his fame from defeating Goliath.  A man without a country, David fled for a cave, encouraged by 400 men, soldiers who had became friends.  Despite being anointed as king by Samuel, David had to wait and wait and wait some more.  Just as the mountains served as a retreat for me, this cave was like an oasis, able to shoot the breeze, wondering where to go and what to do next.  Fellowship in these close quarters likely developed friendships for a lifetime.

4. Publicly confess your sins – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed, James 5:16a.

To provide a woman’s perspective, I can’t help but mention the woman described in Matthew 9.  If you think you’ve had a tough life, just listen to her sob story.  Suffering from a bleeding disorder, she saw every specialist possible until she ran out of money.  Broke and still unhealed, she was probably forced to beg like the homeless.  Yet, fearful of contracting what she had, this woman was forced beyond the cities gates to live among the outcasts in society.  Financially tapped, healing appeared unattainable until a man named Jesus worked the earth.

5. Find rest for your soul – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest, ” Matthew 11:28.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Advertisements

A Beautiful Place to Beg

According to an April 2015 study, 1.75 million Americans are homeless.  This stat doesn’t include the unemployed, hungry or those on the verge of losing their permanent shelter.  While its not ideal, some are forced to beg, creating card board signs, standing at busy intersections hoping for enough generosity and or pity to get through the day.

Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts, Acts 3:2.

Prior to intersections, the poor would sit or stand at gates, where travelers walk in and out of large cities.  The disciples had their own encounters with beggars and leave it to Peter to provide an unusual yet powerful message.  Beginning with a bit of sarcasm, likely in response to his wardrobe, “do you see what I’m wearing?”  Unable to offer money, Peter offers this crippled beggar a slice of the supernatural.

So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.  Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk,” Acts 3:5-6.

Reaching out to or relating to the poor is not one of my strengths.  Yet, when I’ve tasted poverty, I was able to see the other side, walking in the steps of the helpless.  If or when you arrive, don’t be ashamed for in your weakness Christ is strong.  In fact, Jesus told his followers on a few occasions, “you don’t have because you haven’t asked.”  Therefore, the next tell you call out to the Lord in prayer, remember, this is a beautiful place to beg.

by Jay Mankus

It’s a Tough World Out There

As I listen to the media’s so called experts, I have a hard time believing what they are trying to sell.  Reports of economic recovery, declining unemployment and a Stock Market’s all time high seem misleading.  As I try to slow down to observe the culture around, citizens are conveying a different story.

While driving in my car, a day usually doesn’t go by without seeing at least one homeless person at an intersection with a cardboard sign: will work for food.  The retired are coming out of retirement not because they want to, but out of necessity after their pension, 401K or both have disappeared.  Meanwhile, former students who are now college graduates are beginning to consider grad school since the jobs in their fields either aren’t hiring or don’t pay enough to make a better life.

I doesn’t take a PHD to recognize it’s a tough world out there.  Individuals are struggling to find a place to call home.  Others are downgrading their expectations, wondering if they will ever find a good paying job again.  Despite these circumstances, it’s time to put on your big boys pants, buckle up your chin strap and fight hard to the finish.  Whether you taste success or failure, remember that each day on earth is a gift from God.

by Jay Mankus

A Not So Happy Thanksgiving

For most of my days, I’ve lived a sheltered life.  However, my first job after graduating from college brought me to inner city Wilmington, Delaware as a social worker.  My eyes were opened to the homeless, poor and unfortunate.  This experience led me to serve the needy during my first Thanksgiving in Chicago, going to a homeless shelter near Cabrini Green, one of the roughest projects in Chicago.  I didn’t see any television cameras or professional football players handing out free turkeys, what I observed was a not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Everyone should get of their comfort zones once in a while to see what its like on the other side.  I’m not talking about Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places.  Rather, I think its healthy to see how little other people have so that you may begin to appreciate all the things you have accumulated in life.  Fashion, shopping and temporary pleasures blind most individuals to what’s really important: family, faith and fellowship.  Without this type of perspective, a spoiled generation will continue to whine, “what’s in it for me,” while the less fortunate have another not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Clothes, food and a place to call home is foreign to some individuals.  Though many may receive a Turkey to cook, how long will the leftovers last?  Will some have to wait til Christmas before the next act of generosity finds these helpless souls?  Therefore, as you watch the parades, gather for a feast and watch some football for dessert, don’t limit your giving to a couple of times per year.  Rather, take a look around and see who you can help so that a not so Happy Thanksgiving can turn into a very Merry Christmas.

by Jay Mankus

On the Other Side of the Street

One of the cliches I heard way too often growing up was, “if the shoe fits wear it.”  I’m still not exactly sure where this phrase originated or what it’s intended purpose served, yet I have learned to distinguish my strengths from my weaknesses over time.  When it comes to death, dying, injuries and wheelchairs, I’m at a loss, leaving me uncomfortable and unqualified to handle these environments.

Perhaps, this may explain why God forced me to visit the other side of the street last week.  When you reach a certain age, suffer a debilitating  injury or endure an accident, these individuals all share something in common, they are helpless.  As you enter this arena, self sufficiency is no longer an option with souls needing another person to help them up, take their hand and nurture them back to health.  Normally a quick healer, this is mostly foreign to me except for a few broken bones here and a surgery there.

In biblical times, there were no nursing homes or retirement centers to spend your final years on earth.  Your destiny was determined by your family, their generosity and wealth necessary to provide affordable care.  As the modern family dissolves into some type of dysfunctional reality television show, its no wonder that the amount of beggars and homeless continue to increase, showing up at most busy intersections where I live.  Abandoned by their families, friends and employers, these desperate people are like prodigal sons and daughters waiting for their father to welcome them back home.  Until this day, those living on the other side of the street which need prayers, support and a helping hand to get them back on the road to recovery.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: