Tonight, as a church, we had the opportunity to be a participant in our city's first ever Food and Wine Show. There are so many angles that amaze me about this that we'd need to have lunch together to be able to tell the full story properly. But as interesting and unique as tonight was for us, it was also very familiar.
We did what we've done thousands and thousand of times tonight. We cooked up BBQ... and gave it to people for ZERO dollars. Simple. Today instead of our regular cheap meat on the street, it was a fancy slider with a homemade sour cream, bacon and parsley sauce for a higher income demographic... but fundamentally, there was no difference. People are people and kindness functions similarly across demographics.
Later in the evening, I got into a conversation with a lovely guy who had been hanging around our booth for a while, due to his fascination with what on earth we were doing. It was like he was watching analytically and trying desperately to make sense of it. Why give something for nothing? Instead what happened was that he began to tell me his story. He told me of financial situations. He told me of relationships strained. He told me of homeland missed. As he was doing it... the jazz singer began to sing Billy Joel's woe song "Piano Man"
He says, Son can you play me a memory
I'm not really sure how it goes
But it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man's clothes
This is a story I've heard hundreds and hundreds of times after giving a free burger to a stranger. No joke. I listened and encouraged and assured him that I'd be praying for him. Over what? A tiny piece of meat. 70 cents for soothed soul. Well worth it.
When you listen to "Piano Man" you hear the world many live it. We all often make the mistake of believing that we're the only ones with insecurities. We're sure that everyone else has it together and our own lives are messier than others. We all carry baggage and it robs us of being able to fully enjoy our lives. We all need more FREEDOM. And the amazing thing is that it doesn't take much to spur a freedom encounter in someone else. Simply knowing that someone else acknowledges their value as a human soul is ASTOUNDINGLY powerful. Trust me on this one. Rich, poor, old, young... I've seen grown men weep brother.
Be intentional. Care. Sow & invest in people. The rush of freedom is addicting.