Finishing the Ensemble
In his book Uncensored Grace, Pastor Jud Wilhite recounts the story of Cody Huff, a homeless man who lived in a field near his church in Las Vegas. Cody’s slide into homelessness had begun from an unlikely place. He had been a successful professional fisherman with features on ESPN and with $600,000 in savings. But a crack addiction had led to the loss of all his savings, his house, his motorcycle and his boat.
One day, some volunteers from Central Christian Church were handing out food in a nearby park and they offered Huff an opportunity to take a shower in their nearby church building. Although he loathed the idea of going to a church, Cody was desperate to clean off, so he warily ventured over. This is how Cody describes it:
I walked into the church, and this lady named Michelle, who knew me from the homeless ministry, said, "Good morning, Cody. How are you?" Then she looked at me, and she said, "Cody, you need a hug." And I said, "Honey, you don't want to touch me because I haven't had a shower in 3 months." If Michelle heard me, she didn't seem to care. She walked up, and she looked in my eyes, and she gave me a big hug and told me that Jesus loved me. In that split second, I was somebody. She even remembered my name. That was the point where I knew that God was alive in this world.
That first experience of God’s love led to a relationship with the Central Christian Church and a renewed faith in Christ. Huff began holding a Bible Study with other homeless people in the nearby park. In three years time, Cody went from destitution to having a marriage, owning his own business and running a ministry to homeless people.
And it all began with someone who was unashamed to show God’s love to someone who didn’t look or act (or smell) like her.
After listing all of these virtues in Colossians chapter 3 (compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience) Paul finishes by reminding the Christians in Colosse, “ And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity (Colossians 3:14).” I think Cody’s story is a perfect example of why Paul places love at the very top, the glue that “binds them all.”
This Sunday, we’re going to talk about what that love looks like, and why it surpasses every other virtue. I hope that our church can embody that for people who come our way as well.