I’m sitting in a local coffee shop waiting for some girlfriends to arrive for an afternoon pottery party. There is a local place where you can paint and fire your own pottery design. It sounds like a great thing to do on a cold Saturday afternoon. We’ve had snow flurries all day and a cold wind. But it looks like spring is coming this week.
I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about community ministries lately. Perhaps materials I have been reading have moved me there or perhaps something inside me has moved me to select certain reading materials. Its the chicken/egg debate. Regardless, I cannot ignore the passion that is very strong towards meeting needs in our community and around the world. Based on trends in our society, I believe the needs are only going to worsen. Will the church, more specifically, my church be ready to respond to those needs? Are we ready now? I’ve read Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America). My daily devotions come from a book on the sayings and teachings of Mother Theresa. I’m watching movies that bring global atrocities into our living rooms. I’ve toured an old church in town that is up for sale and in the heart of the poorest of the poor. I’m in a book study reading How Much is Enough? by Arthur Simon. My pastor is preaching sermons on these issues. I’m guilty of sometimes thinking things through too much and sometimes not thinking things through enough. Often, I make little movement while I try to figure out the right answer and exactly how that answer will look. I remember reading or hearing someone talking about how we think and respond to God’s will. Often we are busy praying about something and it sounds something like this, "God, what do you want me to do? Should I spend less money on me and help those in greater need than myself? Do you want me to do that?" The answer is "Duh". I think we hesitate because we are hoping for a way out, a loop hole, or for God to relieve us of the feeling and say, "No, no, Melissa. Its okay. Its enough that you want to help and that you feel compassion. Acting upon those things isn’t necessary. That would be going above and beyond." Somehow, I know that would never be God’s response.
The key, however, is to not do these things out of guilt. The key is to allow God to work in you to develop a true love for others so that you want to help others. You can’t help but help others because you love them. God so begins to work in and through you that you see the world and all that is in it through the eyes of Christ. Money is not difficult to share because you don’t see it as yours. Your house and possessions do not keep you from helping others because they are not yours anyway.
My friends have arrived so I’m wrapping up my wanderings for today. May God continue to work in each of us to make us like Christ and out of Christ in us, we care for the world around us.