What would happen to our community if Greenville Oaks ceased to exist? Sure, the Boy Scouts & Young Life would have to find another building to hold activities. But, forget the building…would the community have a reason to miss us if we were no more? Do we meet the needs in our community that nobody else wants to, or even knows about?
I think the 4H Club at Boyd Elementary would miss the 3 teenagers who faithfully come to their meetings every other Friday, provide snacks, and are teaching them drama and set design.
I think one Allen Policeman would miss the Empty Nesters small group that provided Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for his family last year.
I think a few elderly residents at Victoria Gardens would miss the 5th and 6th graders and their parents who come once a month to listen to stories, and help create something beautiful for their room.
If more of us were focused on it, could more people be served in the name of Jesus?
This week, our church will be taking lunch to the pavilion behind Boyd Elementary in hopes of meeting and serving our neighbors. There will be no news cameras, because what we’re doing isn’t that great. I have to remind myself of that because there is the temptation to believe that what we’re doing is really fantastic, and that I must be well on my way to a Nobel Peace Prize. Mother Teresa, a Nobel Prize winner herself, said that we can do no great things, only small things with great love. Giving lunch to your neighbor is a small thing, but I assure you it is done with great love.
So why spend Spring Break doing this? Other than it being a way to experience God! Because it’s time to start changing the way we serve people. It is easy to get stuck in the idea that by simply donating money, clothing, food, etc. that we have done our part, and can leave the other stuff to missionaries and social workers. Donations are a good and necessary thing for many of our local, faith-based, non-profit organizations that provide direct support to people in need. But, Jesus called us to more than just donations! He said, “When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat. When I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me in. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.” He did not say, “When I was hungry, you donated a check to the food bank and they fed me.” I think that’s because something amazing happens when we break-out of our exclusive, secure lifestyles and begin to bridge the gap ourselves. It’s like we’re given a glimpse of the kingdom!
When I offer a hungry person food it is the catalyst to a relationship. The kind of relationship where I have met a need and they could begin to trust me. The kind of trust that makes me a safe person and allows them to open up about what life is like for them. And just maybe, after I’ve listened to and loved this person, God will open up a door for me to tell them about the faith that anchors me, the hope that gives me purpose, and the love that makes me whole.
Join us this week, as we join God in serving our neighbors!
Posted on Mon, March 15, 2010