R.I.P. God’s Image Bearer

R.I.P. Matthew Wayne Pickett

A few of my readers who have been following for the last year or more know that I have an extensive prayer list.  Most of the names of the people on it are folx I met on the streets.  I do not know them all personally.  Some I know well, others I only met once and will likely never meet again.  Some were living on the street when I met them, but now they have homes.  Others have gone to jail or prison.  Others are rumored to have passed away, while yet others are confirmed dead.

Street friends.

They might go missing.  Missing for a long time.  Maybe other people see them, hear from them, but for me, missing is almost routine.  I just cannot keep up with them all.

But I pray for them.

And it is my constant prayer that they bear the image of God.  And since, largely speaking, they do not know how, and what little they do know, they largely resist, I ask God to express himself through them – SO THAT – at the sight of God in them, the mountains will bow down, the valleys stand at attention, the crooked places straighten out, Just like Isaiah told us from times of old.  So that at the sight of God in them, the whole economy will just turn upside down and shake all out on the ground and start it all over again.  Just like God did using those beggars of old at the gates of Samaria.  And so that at the sight of God in them, may his kingdom come and his will be done on the streets of Lubbock like it is in heaven!

So, yeah.  I pray for my street friends daily by name, and I have shared this on this blog before.  And the list keeps growing burdensomely long.  I am up to 95 names committed to memory and daily taken to God in prayer.

Well, one of these friends was named Matt.

I only met Matt less than a half dozen times.  But Matt was one of those people who challenged me to live more fervently for Jesus.  Matt made an impression on me.  I am quite certain there is/was far more to Matt, both for good and for ill, than what I know, but the little bit of him I knew really helped me to see Jesus.

Matt’s life was an expression of God’s image.

I met Matt at a Bible study one day at the old St. B’s when it was still downtown on Broadway.  I recall him instructing me in a Hebrew and Greek word study.  It is not uncommon for homeless men to live out their faith in God and even lead Bible studies.  Well, maybe that’s a bit strong for it, but not by much.  However, it is rare for a homeless man leading a Bible study to instruct us in the original languages.

I do not know if Matt mastered these languages or if he just had a few pet word studies, but I soon saw his heart for Jesus when, after he impressed me with his language skills, he invited me to take prayer and study to a couple of flea bag motels where he had appointments to meet with other poor and needy people who were eager to talk about Jesus.  He rode a bike, and I met him there.  We entered places I would never have ventured into without him as my guide.  We touched broken needy people where they lived on rotten, broken beds, and while Matt led prayer, I sat there worried that my book-bag and Bible cover might become infested with bed bugs!

I remember another time when Matt found me at the library and gathered a few friends to share communion with me on the lawn out front.  We sang Amazing Grace and took turns preaching to each other and praying and reading Scriptures.  Some other homeless people joined us, and Matt proved to be both insightful and encouraging to them.

One time Matt had a couple of older friends he was trying to help get to Asbury Methodist for Sunday Night dinner.  I came along, and he flagged me down, since I had a car, and they took me with them to eat.  Ha!  My homeless friend invited me out to eat with him!  And I had never eaten there before that night, but I was richly blessed to spend that time with Matt and his friends who thanked me profusely because without my help, they might not have been able to make the trip.

I remember another night when I bumped into Matt while he was ministering to a drug addicted, homeless, hooker – who it turned out – was celebrating 28 days clean.  She had sensed God drawing her closer to him and that he wanted her reading her Bible.  (Matt’s specialty!)  And so she began reading and studying even though she was still in her full-blown addiction.  But then she sensed God calling her to minister to others too, and so she began sharing Jesus with others – all the while still in full-blown addiction.  But then after she was ministering to others, the dope began to feel like a deep inconsistency in her life, so she gave it up.  And there was Matt, encouraging this woman who lived on the street and celebrating 28 days of sobriety and who knows how long a life in ministry?

I once heard someone ask Matt if he would ever consider finding a home.  He said he would not.  He felt called by God to be homeless and minister among the poor.

I must say, I typically argue against that mentality.  I honestly see that as the exception, not the rule.  I do not believe for one minute that God wants his children to be homeless.  Yet I have met people who claim to prefer it, and a few of them I actually believe.  But I am sure that just because God called Hosea to marry a whore does not mean he wants all his sons to do it.  Thus Hosea was a prophetic exception to the rule, and I think perhaps Matt was like that.

I know people sometimes speak of the dead in glowing terms and clichés.  But I really believe Matt would give you the shirt off his back if you asked.  Of course most people I know would not want the shirt of a homeless man, but I am sure Matt would serve Jesus in that way.

And for me… Matt went missing.  I don’t think I have seen him in the last 12 months.  But I felt good knowing he was OUT THERE.  The world needed Matt, because Matt was bearing the image of Jesus.  The world was not worthy of this man precisely because he was bearing the image of God.

And then last week, someone took his life in a senseless shooting.

Today I went down to St. B’s and shared a meal with about 150 of his closest friends and family, and I realized that even dead, Matt is bearing the image of God in Lubbock.

Can I get an “Amen”???

R.I.P.  Friend.  And thank you for your life in this world.

 

3 comments

  1. Μιχαήλ (Michael) Wilson · March 19, 2018

    Amen! May Matt rest in peace, being at home with his Master Jesus.

    Be blessed my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. clashofcashntrash · March 19, 2018

    Rest in Peace, Matt.

    He taught me too. A good guy we will miss dearly.

    Thanks for this post. I see where Facebook is full of condolences and so many rich stories of all the blessings this man gave us. Truly used by God.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: A Picnic With Jesus (Secret Agent Kid Sister Throws A Luke-14 Party In The Park) | Fat Beggars School of Prophets

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