The Hot Dog Stand

From time to time a little hot dog stand is set up, just outside the security gate of Jefferson County's DHR building. A young guy and gal run it together. He does the money; she cooks the hot dogs. You can get the plain combo for $4 flat: that's the dog, a bag of chips, and a soda.

I hate hot dogs, but I always stop to buy one when I'm there, and I tell them I don't need the change.

Straight down 12th Avenue North, about a block and a half, there's a row of boarded up homes, an old Salvation Army site across the street, and individuals, who for one reason or another, have become strangers to everywhere but the streets.

As I opened my purse to get my hot dog, I realized I had $35 in cash. That never happens.

"What's it gonna be today?" asked the young money guy.

"I want $35 worth of combos," I said before I even realized it had come out.


"Could I have $35 worth of the plain combo today? No fancy stuff, because I'll just spill it." A little brown girl was weaving in and out of my legs, while her grandmother was still walking from the DHR building to the stand. She was naming every member of her family she had gotten to see today.

I waited, loaded up my eight hot dog combos, drove a block and a half down, and put them in the hands of the street strangers...the wanderers.

One fellow didn't even give me the time of day, but old grandaddy held my hand tight and wept.

And my words were the same I whisper in my children's ears....Jesus loves you so.

Driving home, I debated about whether or not to even write about this. But I realized...for years, I've begged God to break my heart for what breaks His. He's done that. Those weren't my hands pressing hot dogs into the image bearers of God. To say so would be a lie, for He has changed me.

Those weren't my words that whispered the Truth to their longing ears; He was the author of those words, that story, my redemption.

That wasn't my initiative that bought $35 of the plain hot dog combo, and it wasn't even my money. It was His provision for this moment. It was His spirit living and abiding in me.

The same spirit that lives and abides in you.

This is not our story we are proclaiming. It is His. This is not our glory being sung. It is His.

This is not about me, or you. It's is about the One weaving His heart into our own. It's His eyes, and His feet, and His hands, and His heart.

Today it happened to be me at the hot dog stand with $35 in my purse; tomorrow, it might be you with $5, or an ear to listen, or a voice to share, or a hand to hold.

Apart from Him, I have nothing, but with Him, I am so very, very rich, even when my purse is empty. What can I do, but press my provision into the hands of the hurting, but press His words into the ears of the searching, but press His love into the heart of the despairing.

All for Jesus...


  1. Love you! Thanks not only for what you did with the hot dogs but the reason you were there in the first place. Your life of service is beautiful!

    1. You are a precious gift. Thank you for letting us serve you and for casting an incredible vision for us!

  2. Absolutely beautiful, Mrs. Lumpkin! I'm so blessed, encouraged, and challenged by how the Lord is using you for His kingdom.

    1. Elizabeth, your blog makes me weep. I'm so proud to even know you and your family, and the ways His glory is displayed through you - always.

  3. You don't know me, but I feel like I know you from your blog :) we are new foster parents and you and your social worker opened the door to the room where our foster son was having a visitation with his bio dad on Friday :) I recognized your face from the picture on your blog. :) I know, creepy sounding, right? But you have been SUCH and inspiration to my entire family during this process! We are in the very early stages of foster care and your blogs are such a great reminder of why we are doing this. Thank you!!!!

    1. Umm a little creepy. I didn't even see you! I just saw a little one :) I felt horrible because we intruded, not one but 10 times! Could you message me at cafranktie@aol.com?

  4. How do you do all you do and still write such wonderful, meaningful, grammatically correct posts? By 1 pm, all I can do is babble, but I'm grateful for your gift of clarity and expression. Praying for all that you're doing, sweet friend.


  5. A new reader, but I keep coming back to your blog, reading about your family' s ministry, humbled by the life and spiritual lessons you teach and yearning to help in some small way knowing that God will use it to His glory!
    I realize I am a stranger to you so I will understand if you are uncomfortable doing so but I thought it can't hurt to ask! May I email you with some further thoughts? God Bless you, your beautiful family and all those little ones (and their families, too!) Lori