The Bare Soul - December 2, 2007
Clean Hands and Dirty Feet

Psalm 24:3-4 - Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.

It was one of those brisk, cool fall mornings. I had just returned from an interview at a local television station in Kansas City, talking about barefoot running and Soles for Souls and the Kansas City Rescue Mission. I decided since I was close to the Plaza that I would go run at Mill Creek Park. I started running on the paved trail and when I was just about through my first lap, I noticed some homeless guys hanging out on a bench. I said, “Good morning Gents”. I went on “Next time you’re down at KCRM, tell Pastor Joe ‘hi’ for me. “Oh we don’t go to the Kansas City Rescue Mission," they exclaimed. "It’s too clean down there!” I said, “Too clean?” rather incredulously. I continued talking to them, sharing my faith and what the Lord Jesus had done in my life – how I had slept under a number of bridges and in missions when I was a "down and outter". I said my goodbyes and continued on my run. The thought of what they said kept flooding my mind … Too clean! What was the implication? Did the clean surroundings make them uncomfortable? Did they feel that others would judge them if they wore shabby clothes and if they had not bathed? Or was this just their perception? The times I have worked at KCRM and other missions that are Christ-centered, I have only seen compassion and love from those giving of their time for the homeless. I can’t help but believe that the thought of some place being too clean is only in their own minds -- that they don’t feel accepted because they feel dirty, not only on the outside but on the inside.

We know that the enemy of our souls is a thief and he will seek to rob us of any self-dignity or inner knowledge that we are all created in the likeness of the Deity. For the enemy to lie to men such as these and tell them that they are not worthy of feeling comfortable, not only in a clean building but more importantly in their own skin is a horrific deception. Satan, in conjunction with the carnal mind, will seek to drag the human race to the depths of despair through these types of lies.

For me, it's not hard to believe how these men felt about themselves that Saturday morning. I too, had felt incredible self-loathing when I was in the throes of my addiction and sin. Others, however, will always see the best in us or what God wants us to be. They have the ability to look beyond our sin-stained lives and see the diamond that God is creating. A dear late friend of mine, Patrick Bickle, was this sort of person. Pat was paralyzed on September 29, 1973 in a high school football game. Pat would live for another 33.5 years with no movement below his neck.

I met Pat and his brother Mike in 1976. I would remain friends with Pat until the Lord took him home. Pat saw me at my worst, but he always believed in me. Pat had a dream about me in the 1980s that he would retell to me over and over again. I think he did this so that I wouldn’t forget it. Pat saw me in a large room or auditorium that was empty. I was in rags and barefoot. Suddenly, others appeared with raggedy clothing following behind me, as we walked through the large expanse. Suddenly, a familiar scripture song that we sang in church began filling the air “Blow upon me, O wind of God” and there was a rush of wind through the place and the presence of the Lord was all over us as we walked in holy communion with one another.

That was the end of the dream, my friend, but that is not the end of the story. Today, I know I am part of that dream being lived out at this very time. I believe that God is beginning to blow upon those he has called to reach out to the lost and dying of this world and to bring them under the mighty rushing wind of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit that will set men and women free from the rags of their own sinful flesh and bring them into fellowship with Him – into that cleanness of soul and spirit that transcends any cleansing that human power can accomplish. A cleansed soul that will be so free that others will be drawn to the beauty of the Risen Lord living within.

By God’s grace, He has shown me through my own dirtiness and filth of sin to lay all this at His feet, and then to take my bare feet and to run through this world of dirt and filth to bring healing and to cleanse hearts and hands. What has God called you to do? Are you free from your own sin? If not, lay it at the feet of Jesus this day so that he might give you the “feet” to do his work. Romans 10:15 states: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! Don’t worry that they might get dirty, but delight in the miraculous cleansing that you will bring to others through the Holy Lord Jesus.

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