Ed Jones, Pastor
This little story convicted me. I call myself a Christian.
In June 2013, the Rev. Willie Lyle, the newly-appointed pastor of the Sango United Methodist Church in Clarksville, Tenn., spent four and a half days living in the streets in the guise of a homeless man. He then transformed back into his role as pastor as he delivered a sermon.
In a dream, God told Willie that he needed to live on the streets of Clarksville as a homeless and hungry person. He challenged Willie to experience firsthand just what it was like to have nothing—no home, no money, no friends, no food on even a semi-regular basis, nothing. Pastor Willie’s wife, Suzette, dropped him off in downtown Clarksville early Monday morning, June 17, and he lived on the street through the morning of Friday, June 21. In those four and a half days, he learned a great deal about the homeless, the working poor who face hunger daily, and those in need of spiritual and emotional help. It was not comfortable.
Early morning on June 23, Willie lay under a tree on the church lawn covered up by a big overcoat. He still had not shaved or combed his hair. He wondered how many people would approach him and offer him food, or a place to sit inside an air-conditioned room, or just see how they could help. Twenty people spoke to him and offered some type of assistance.
While he preached, his daughter-in-law cut his hair and his daughter helped shave off his scruffy beard. He changed shoes, and beneath the overcoat, he was wearing his Sunday clothes. He put on a tie and his suit coat, all the while continuing to preach his message. Before the 200 people gathered that morning, he went from looking like a homeless person to the new pastor of the congregation.
The sermon title was “The Least Used Parts of the Body” and was based on I Corinthians 12:12-15. According to Pastor Lyle, “Often the least used parts of the body are the ones that mean the most, like our heart and mind. We need to understand that there are no small or least used parts in the body of Christ.”
He closed with a quote from Matthew 25:40, “Then the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you did for me.’”
Being a Christian is more than something you claim, it is a faith you live by, sharing it with others.
Ed Jones pastors Fellowship at the Ranch Church at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. For information, visit Fellowship’s website, www.fellowshipattheranchchurch.com.