Our church has really started taking the love of Christ to the streets. The other day I was with a team walking the streets in Indianapolis. We were inviting people to come get a free meal. As I turned a corner, I noticed a young couple. And honestly, what surprised me was how dirty they were.
I remember seeing dirt in the creases of their skin. They obviously hadn’t showered in some time. When we walked up to them, I’m sad to say that I was at a loss for words. All those theology classes, years of pastoring to the suburban middle class… And here I stood looking in the eyes of a homeless girl, and I didn’t know what to do or say. One of my staff members walked up and broke the awkward moment by giving her a hug.
Where do you start when the need is so great?
That night driving home, my mind was racing. My thoughts constantly wandered back to that situation over the next 24 hours, relentlessly reminding me of my ministerial inadequacies. I ended up on my couch the next evening crying like a baby. I kept thinking about how my kids have such a great life and how I need to teach them to engage in an economically devolving culture. Reading about ministry is so different than actually doing it. I fully believe eternity is the sum of what we sow in life. We know, Biblically speaking, that faith is not based on works, though what we do really does matter. It forms our character.
Our actions and attitudes are like seeds planted in the ground; the roots go deep. When we constantly complain, grumble, analyze, and criticize, it reaches into every relationship we have. The roots thread through our marriage, workplace, and children. They become the immovable oak that keeps us from engaging in a broken world.
What seeds are you planting in life? What are you planting in your children? Would Christ be proud? I know that, as a pastor, I want to teach my children and church to generously throw seeds of God’s truth and grace. We will wholeheartedly hang onto the truth in the Scripture while engaging our world with love and grace.
“And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:39-40 ESV)