So this has been a topic for our church, you can read Zach's blog about this here (Zach is our worship leader), you can read Parker's blog post here (Parker is our Pastoral Intern). Basically it comes down to the question of how do we as a church best serve the homeless and needy of our city? It is a question we have been wrestling with over the past 3 weeks or so as a gentleman has crossed our path in need and we have reached out to him. I think we can all collectively say we have dropped the ball in some areas, and we have done what seems is best in others. It seems though for many of us in Desert Springs Church, especially us younger punks, we are learning daily what it means to love and serve the orphan, widow and poor and needy. Some of what I, being a young punk learned was:
1. It is not black and white, it seems many of us keep coming back to a structure needed, a program or list of rules about what we do with these people. That does not seem biblical or really all that practical, sense every circumstance and person is unique. Structure is needed and just handing out cash and sending someone on their way is not showing biblical love, but there seems to be more gray than anything else.
2. We are inadequate at this task. It seems that a lot of us are beating ourselves up over what we did not do right with this gentleman and maybe it is more the fact that he was not converted and is not saved right now. We need to expect that when we help 10 maybe only 1 will return, much like Jesus healing the lepers. We learn from our mistakes that we made, and I made some with this gentleman, but we press on from there not gazing too long at our navel.
3. Helping people is never a question of whether one deserves the help or not. None of us deserve anything but Hell, and eternal punishment. We all are law breakers and rebels to our Holy King in Heaven, but have been given GRACE by God, not because we deserve, but because He loves. This wipes away our judgment of who is deserving of love. The question is not, do they deserve? The question is rather, how do I best love this person?
All in all I have learned a ton from this gentleman and our interaction with him. I hope to continue to learn for the rest of my life what it means to serve, love and live out the gospel.
What does your church do? What do you do in this task?