1998-08-15 - The Helping Hand
The Virtuous Woman Series, Part 13
Proverbs 31:20 - "She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hand to the needy."
I'll never forget Jimmy Lee Walker as long as I live. Just another homeless man on the streets of Miami. But, not really. His is the only name I knew.
It all started one day when I was leaving the Winn Dixie food store. I saw an old-looking black man. No shoes, torn pants, dirty t-shirt and he was asking for a hand out. I had a full grocery cart. So I gave him a can of Spam and went home.
He never left my mind, though. I prayed for him after that. "That homeless man I saw." Do you know I saw him a lot after that? He was polite. He asked if people would help, but was never pushy. I never gave money, always food, once in a while clothing, sometimes stuff to clean up with, and once a sleeping bag since he was sleeping outside.
Why did I give all this to him? I'm still not sure. Most homeless people I avoided, but I felt compelled to help this man. One day, I asked, "What's your name?"
"My name's Jimmy Lee Walker, ma'am."
"Jimmy Lee, why are you living out on the street?"
He told me a story about how his whole family had been killed in a car accident and it "just tore me right up". He lost his job, and then his home. Finally, he came down to Florida because things were better here, or so he'd heard.
I'm not sure I still believe his story, but I do know that he was living on the street, and Jesus loved him.
After that, whenever I would see him, I would stop and talk with him. Always in plain sight of everybody, but just so he knew I cared. I learned a lot about him. And I made sure he knew that Jesus loved him. Because Jesus loved him enough to die for him.
I often wonder about Jimmy Lee. Hurricane Andrew ripped through the area on August 24, 1992, right after I got to know him. I never saw him again. But I'll never forget him. Since we moved away from Miami, I don't see homeless people anymore.
There's a difference in giving a hand-out and stretching a hand out. In stretching your hand out, there's a risk that the person on the other end might stretch his right back out at you, shake it and touch your heart, too.
I know that's a risk that scares some people. I can't stop thinking about Jimmy Lee, and I can't stop thinking about another set of hands stretched out to give me life.
Jesus stretched His hands out wide when He gave His life to save mine.
"Father, thank You that You loved me so much that You stepped out of Heaven in order to be the sacrifice needed to be able to have fellowship with me. You are so marvelous. Lord, please, let me never forget that You gave Your life for me, so that I can spend my life for You. Take me, Lord, use me. I pray for Jimmy Lee Walker, wherever he is. Bless him, Lord. Amen"