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Homeless People and Prioritizing Priorities

05/18/2012

The coffee shop I work at happens to be on a major street.  It’s also right off the freeway.  Which means it’s busy, right?  Sometimes, sure.

It also means a lot of homeless people.  Yep.

It was sort of a surprise at first, because I thought tall office buildings, the 405, and a bus stop across the street meant rich office-people, commuters, and tourists.  Mostly, yes.  But along with those commonfolk are a lot of homeless people.  A lot.

They’ve made for a lot of interesting interactions.  It’s really, really challenged my thoughts and convictions on how to care for homeless people.  But that’s a blog post for another time.

I used to work a few times a week in the middle of the night.  330AM.  Good times.

At about 430AM, there would be a fellow who came in every day.  Tall mocha.  With whipped cream.  Ten minutes later: plain bagel with cream cheese.  Then, back out into the cold.  Retrieving his bags of cans and bottles from beneath the newspaper stands out front.

Mhm, he’s homeless.

Now I’m not saying I’ve got expert discernment at my youthful age (ha, youthful), but I’m pretty sure of myself when I say that a homeless person shouldn’t be buying mochas, bagels, and cream cheese from coffee shops on a daily basis.

Tall-mocha guy is an archetype of others in his situation.  Same deal.  They fall asleep in our store, get kicked out, and come back the next day.  But they make real sure they’ve had their 4-and-a-half-dollar treat before they fall asleep.

My jaw has dropped further and further as months go by at my job.  It’s practically on the floor nowadays.

Checking this blog, undoubtedly.

These people have laptops.  Phones with internet.  Ipads.  Knock-off tablets.

Again, I’m pretty sure I’m on the right track when I say that some of these people don’t have their priorities right.  The $250-a-month welfare check goes nowhere fast.

Wrong priorities.

This makes me think about my own priorities.  I would say I have my priorities correct, generally speaking.  God, the Bible, family, friends, ministry, sleep, eating healthy, exercise.  And so on.  You know, pretty good.  I misprioritize sometimes, but there’s grace right?

Right.

But if I’m actually honest with myself, I have my priorities right theoretically speaking.  Conceptually speaking.  In my mind.  In my description of them to others.  That’s it.

Do they play out practically?  Usually not.  Sadly.

So often my time, efforts, money, and resources don’t reflect my supposed and theoretical priorities.  They’re not actually priorities at all.  It always seems so strict to actually quantify my time spent on Facebook or stingy to look at how much money is going where.  Then to compare them to the amount of time in the Word or how much I’m giving monetarily to the church?  How legalistic!

So, in a short manner of words, I would say this calls for reprioritizing prioritizing priorities.  Putting our time, money, efforts, and resources where our mouths (and minds) are.  Theoretical priorities losing their theoretical… ness.  “Legalism” put into practice that actually isn’t legalism at all.  It’s honest and self-aware discipline.  Life worship requires it.

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