Friday, January 14, 2011

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

On the way to work this morning, I was listening to Lisa and Eric, the morning show crew on K-love. They spoke about picking one word for the year for 2011. I had already made my New Year’s Resolution, but this dealt with picking a one-word resolution as to how you see your life and how the Lord wants to work through you in 2011.

As I thought about it, I chose the word “SERVICE”.

1 Peter 4:10 – 11 ~ “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever, Amen.”

I have been in a Service Career for the past 20 years, but haven’t really thought about serving with the Lord in mind. How you serve others can be one way to show your testament as to your love for the Lord.

Today at work, I met Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones was hanging out at the local hospital and not wanting to leave. The person who called felt he was a drunk and needed to go to jail because he smelled of alcohol and would not leave.

I went to the call with the mindset of arresting a drunk at 0730 hrs in the morning. I arrived on scene and met Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones was a 62 year old transient and smelled of alcohol. As I have come to learn though, most transients smell like alcohol. Based on my initial observations, yes, I could have probably placed Mr. Jones under arrest for being drunk in public.

I talked to Mr. Jones and learned he was brought to the hospital last night because he was having seizures related to his lack of getting affordable medication to treat complications related to a job related injury where his left arm was amputated just above the elbow. So unless the hospital gave him some alcohol, Mr. Jones still probably had residual alcohol on him, but was not drunk.

I asked Mr. Jones what he needed and he told me he wanted to get to the BART station so he could take the train back to Piedmont/Oakland. Mr. Jones was grateful when out of the blue I offered him a ride to the BART station. He was not used to this level of “service”.

I placed Mr. Jones in the back seat of the car, and as I normally do now, I had K-Love playing on the radio. On the radio at the time was “Open Skies” by David Crowder Band. Mr. Jones immediately told me I had good taste in music and liked this song.
Chorus: “Praise him under open skies, everything breathing praising God, in the company of all who love the King”.
Mr. Jones told me he was a Christian and we talked about his life and how he got to where he was. Mr. Jones was a former Oakland Police Officer back in the 1960’s and had a change of heart after he and his partner had a gun pulled on them while talking to a suspicious person. He decided that there were special people who could do the job, but he felt he could no longer do it.

Mr. Jones said he went back to Cal Berkeley and got his BA and Master’s degrees in Communications and Journalism. He worked in the Communications field and went on law school, but decided against becoming a lawyer because he could not stand them.

Mr. Jones then suffered an on the job injury and lost his left arm. He then sunk into depression and began drinking heavily. Mr. Jones then lost everything and found himself on the street.

I learned all of this from Mr. Jones in a drive that took less than 5 minutes. As we got to the BART station, Mr. Jones who told me he had money for a ticket told me he did not have the money. Whether or not Mr. Jones had the money for a BART ticket, I told him I would buy one for him. So, I bought Mr. Jones a BART ticket and sent him on his way wishing him the best of Luck and told him I would pray for him.

Luke 6:37 ~ “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven”

While I did not compromise my Officer Safety, I handled the call without judging Mr. Jones and learned a little about a stranger.

I have met many people over the years and I’m not saying that I haven’t talked to them or learned a little about them. Many of us go through life and look at homeless and transients and judge them without getting to know them. Although not everyone has a story like Mr. Jones, many of them are lazy, have drug additions or don’t want to help themselves, but you will never know unless you take the time to not judge them from the outside until you know what is on the inside.

Stopped at the red light, looked out my window
I saw a cardboard sign said “Help this homeless widow”
Just above that sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, “God, what have I been doing?”
So I rolled down the window and I looked her in the eye
Oh how many times have I just passed her by
I gave her some money then I drove on through
in my own little world there’s
Population two, woah

2nd Verse – Matthew West – “My Own Little World”.

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