So I love to give my life away. It has truly become my reason for existence. The past few years of my life I have been very involved in ministry in the inner-city of Columbus and have truly been drawn to the broken, restless, convicted, helpless, downtrodden, empty people of the streets of Columbus. I truly have realized so much more about what it means to be a Christ-follower in my experiences serving and loving the least of these. This may seem overboard, but I truly believe that You and I will never understand God’s heart until we learn to serve the poor. In all reality, we ARE the poor whether we have been given the grace to realize it, we are in constant and desperate need of help. When we start to view the world as though we have all that we need, we immediately begin to trust in our abilities and soon afterwards take our eyes of Jesus. I have done it way too many times to count. Its why Jesus talks about the rich having such a hard time finding the kingdom, its because our laptop, Ipod, Iphone, car, boyfriend/girlfriend, Tv, (you fill in the blank) Is taking up to much of our attention and excelling at blocking our view of personal mission and more importantly ability to see and experience the love of God. I would not trade my adventures behind closed buildings, in parking lots, food pantries, and tent communities for anything. I grew up in middle class suburbs around the rich and privileged of Columbus and have regretted the thought that I spent so much of my life so far removed from what I have found as God’s treasure in the inner-city. Why did i neglect the poor for so long, they are some of the best people I know. I can now say with confidence that I can, and I am doing something about poverty, that I am not neglecting what God has placed minutes from my doorstep. There are prostitutes, drug dealers, convicts, runaway kids, unstable veterans, mentally disabled and average people like you and me that need JESUS and for us to be the hands and feet that reach them. They are craving real relationship, safety, true community, and a powerful move of God to rescue them from their position. I am nothing special and have nothing to offer my friends on the street other than the simple gift of friendship, the Spirit of God within me, love, generosity and quality time together. I don’t think that anyone is disqualified to reach those in need. Neither are you and I, no matter how messed up we are. I have recently started to think….what if these people that we meet outside are actually better off than we are? Isn’t the kingdom of God backwards anyways? The first shall be last….love those who persecute and hate you?
Jesus says “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Phillip Yancey writes “One commentary translates that ‘Blessed are the desperate.’ With no where to turn, the desperate just may turn to Jesus, the only one who can offer the deliverance they long for. Jesus really believed that a person who is poor in spirit, or mourning, or persecuted, or hungry and thirsty for righteousness has a peculiar ‘advantage’ over the rest of us. Maybe, just maybe, the desperate person will cry to God for help. If so, that person is truly blessed.”
Monika Hellwig lists several advantages to being poor:
- The poor know they are in urgent need of redemption.
- The poor know not only their dependence on God and on powerful people, but also their interdependence with one another.
- The poor rest their security not on things but on people.
- The poor have no exaggerated sense of their own importance, and no exaggerated need of privacy.
- The poor expect little from competition and much from cooperation.
- The poor can distinguish between necessities and luxuries.
- The poor can wait, because they have acquired a kind of dogged patience born of acknowledged dependence.
- The fears of the poor are more realistic and less exaggerated, because they already know that one can survive great suffering and want.
- When the poor have the Gospel preached to them, it sounds like good news and not like a threat or a scolding.
- The poor can respond to the call of the Gospel with a certain abandonment and uncomplicated totality because they have so little to lose and are ready for anything.
This draws me to the point of asking Jesus to break me to a point of DESPERATE and GENUINE repentance and dependance on HIM. Without it, we are lost in a lukewarm, half-hearted, and watered down version of our faith. God grant us the ability to see you in the strange and maddening days ahead. Help give us more of your heart for the lost.