Mike walks into our building every morning and everyone yells “Mikey!” in unison. He gives me a hug and makes small talk with a few of our regulars. Then he walks up to the coffee bar and humbly asks, “Would it be okay if I hopped in the shower?”
The answer is always yes.
When Mike finishes showering he thanks us a thousand times with a smile on his face then sits and watches the news while sipping a cup of coffee.
Jesus tells us, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
I rarely use real names when telling stories because I want to protect identities. But “Mike” is Mike’s real name. Everyone knows him and loves him. He is the most respected homeless man I have ever known.
Mike doesn’t say much but listens closely. On occasion, Mike stands up and rebukes his fellow homeless men. They may not take his advice but they are quiet and listen. He has authority.
I once asked Mike, “What’s the good word for the day?”
He replied, “Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost.” And he meant it. He loves the gospel.
I recently read an article about the theology of the homeless. The article made two important conclusions:
- Homeless people have deep theological beliefs.
- People with good economic standing don’t see these beliefs as valid.
Just the other day, a homeless man we call “Bug” was pondering his life choices. He suffered through a cardiac episode the week before and wondered if God might have given him a wake up call.
Mike listened to Bug and rolled his eyes. “I don’t get it,” Mike said. “People say, ‘I’m thinkin’ about getting a job. I’m thinkin’ about finding a place to live. I’m thinkin’ about changing my ways.’ Then they say, ‘I’m thinkin’ about following Jesus.’”
Then Mike made his point. “Man, stop thinkin’ and just DO IT!”
It was the best sermon I’d heard in a while.
Mike exemplifies meekness. Meek is one of those words we don’t use much anymore, but I once heard it defined as “power restrained.”
This definition describes Mike. He lives and acts in humility. He doesn’t take what he wants but receives what is offered. Mike trusts God and speaks truth when truth needs to be spoken.
Because of this, Mike is a true shepherd of the neighborhood. He is fulfilling his role in the body of Christ.
He has a deep faith. A valid faith.
And the Church ought to be taking him seriously.