What’s worse? To live a life that is filled with substance abuse, stealing, anger, violence, depression, poverty, and ignorance or one that has little or no sympathy and offers no assistance to people in those life styles.
“Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.” Proverbs 14:31
In the last six years we have lost at least 9 of of our brothers to direct drug overdose, the effects of substance abuse, or violence. While we debate what should be done, how it should be done, even if anything should be done, who do we assist, who should we not assist, and who we walk away from, people are dying in the shadows of our steeples.
Also in the last six years we have seen the Lord heal the sick and addicted, bring the poor out of poverty, bring joy to the joyless, hope to the hopeless, and shelter to the homeless. We have experienced a joy beyond our wildest imaginations and have added friends beyond compare. We have embraced and laughed with refreshed emotions with those who in the past we avoided in places we never dreamed we would go.
It is written in Isaiah 58:10:
“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”
We have mourned the loss of our brothers.
But we also celebrate others.
We celebrate the mother who called us about her son right out of jail and who wanted to start a new life. We celebrate the father and daughter that have started a sober living house in town. We celebrate that we were able to introduce this mother and her son to the father and daughter and the young man now has a job and a safe place to live.
We celebrate that we met a mother and her 10 year old daughter who evacuated out of Louisiana from the hurricane. We celebrate that we had the funds to put them in a motel for a couple of days. We celebrate that we were able to introduce them to a contact at the school district and they used their resources to supply clothes for the daughter and get her in an afternoon school program.
We celebrate the mother found a job and we were able to fill the tank of her truck so she can get back and forth from work.
We celebrate every time someone is thirsty and we can provide water. We celebrate every time someone is hungry and we can provide food. We celebrate every time we can bring a little bit of peace to life in a storm. We celebrate that God has provided the people and the means so Heaven can touch earth.
1 John 3:17-18: “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
We don’t qualify whoever comes into our Circle. If Jesus died for all then we should sacrifice for all as well. He included everyone in His death so we should include everyone in our lives.
Christ has entrusted us with the Keys to His Kingdom. Our responsibility is to open the Door to this Kingdom. We do this through actions to the least of these around us. When we do we discover that “the least these” are really “the greatest among us.”
No more exclusion. Only inclusion. Bring them in from the shadows of our buildings into the Light of His Kingdom. Be involved.
We celebrate those on the margins and that our Lord that cares so much for them.