Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Is giving easier than listening?

갈비 | galbi | Some korean BBQ in MD 2008

Last week I went out to dinner with Jess and fellow staff member Jill, but I didn't get anything.  As we walked back I saw a homeless guy in the Manoa Market place, which is right near where we live. I felt like I heard God ask me to buy this guy dinner...
I walked another few steps past him, then abruptly told Jess and Jill that I thought I was suppose to buy that guy dinner.  So I turned around and walked back to the man.  

His name was Rudy.  I asked him if he had eaten dinner.  He replied "no."  I told him I would buy him dinner and asked him what he wanted.  He replied, "whatever, I'll eat anything."  And I insisted, "what do you want to eat?"  He replied again, "I'm good with whatever."  Again I asked him what he wanted "No man, I want to buy you what you want, what do you want to eat?".  He smiled, and said he wanted a galbi plate, with watercress, cabbage, kimchi and something else.  I had to write it all down.  I walked to the korean bbq place and ordered what he wanted.  

I brought him his food and he had cleaned up the table he was sitting at.  He asked me how I knew him.  I told him that last time I walked past him I was with a friend that said hello, and you asked about a mutual friend named Jimmy.  

"Oh, you was wah-king wit dat tall haole guy?"  (That's pidgin for white guy) 
"Yeah, and when he said hello, you asked about Jimmy, I'm friends with Jimmy too."  
"Oh, Jimmy dat Japanese guy?"  
"Well he's actually Korean but yeah."  
"Oh, is he coming back" 
"I don't think he is anytime soon"  

Rudy wanted to talk story, (more pidgin for shooting the breeze) he didn't even open up his food, he just wanted to talk.  He talked to me through a thick pidgin accent, he grew up here on the island, and he only had one tooth and spoke kind of quietly.  I had to strain to listen.  

He told me of some of the injustices he had been through lately.  I sat there fidgeting.  I have to be honest, I just wanted to buy the guy dinner and be on my way.  Do my good deed, pat myself on the back for my obedience and not be inconvenienced any further.  I listened for a while, and told him goodbye.  I could have probably sat with him all night.  

I think more than food, this guy just needed someone to listen to him.  Listening validates people.  It's a tangible way of saying I value you, sitting face to face, and taking time, looking someone in the eyes, really listening.  

I ran into Rudy again today, I was with another friend on the way to get coffee.  I didn't see him at first, but Rudy made sure to say hello to me, (actually I think he said "oh howzit bro") he flashed me the shakka and gave me a toothless smile.  

Engage:  I dare you to give this week by listening, genuinely listen.   Share your story with us in the comments.  


  1. Cool stuff!  Thanks for the tag, too.  Jim and Jess you guys are awesome and I love how you listen and obey the voice of Jesus!

  2. Obedience is the only way to live, its not always easy though (as you know), God asked me to talk to a lady the other day and I didn't... I let my fears get louder than His voice.  Thats why I stopped so immediately and turned around so abruptly when I was with you guys, because I knew if I didn't do it right then I'd somehow weasel out of it.  

    And no problem for the tag, I think we should all be more generous with our linking of one anothers stuff, especially if its good.  hint hint... ;) 

  3. This happens to me sometimes on my lunch break or after work in DC, I feel led to buy food for someone I walk by and they ask me to sit with them but I fell like I don't have the time so often I say I'm sorry I can't.  I have been realizing more and more though what an important part of it sitting and listening is! 

    I enjoy reading your blog, thanks for sharing!  

  4. The secret to talking is listening. -we bought a zoo

  5. Great story Jim! I served at a local homeless shelter last week and struggled to "be in the moment" as I often tell my kids.  Seemed easier to just serve the food because after all, I was there and well wasn't that enough???  Instead, I sat beside my new friend Vanessa and listened as she told me her journey the past 2 years.  She cried, I cried, Jesus cried.  She laughed, I laughed, Jesus laughed.  Oh the urge to "check the box."  Listening does validate people.  In scripture we are encouraged to serve the "least of these," yet we are reminded that the "poor will always be among us."  I decided that although I can't reach everyone in this shelter, I can, however, do for the "one" what I wish I could do for the many.  I exchanged info with Vanessa and have decided to take a great risk with her, with Jesus.  Don't know what the outcome will be, but last week, I didn't check the box, I allowed the Lord to use me to fill it by listening, praying for her, and now walking among her as friends.

    Hope all is well with the Bakers!

    Lynn :)  

  6. Awesome story!! Love to hear how God is stretching you and how you are walking on obedience, it's very encouraging to us readers. :-)


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