- I wanted to write about Jimmy, a man who was/is scraping by an existence collecting plastic bottles in the street. Felipe, an elder at our church, told me that he had always seen this man in the street but was convicted to talk to him one day. Felipe started to talk to him and promised to pray for him consistently. Little by little, Felipe began to talk to him more, pray, and invite him to church until he came! Jimmy has been coming to church for about 2 weeks now, never missing a meeting. On Thursday, him and his friend came early to Bible study to set up the chairs!
- I also wanted to write about the subject of poverty. Sometimes it seems wrong to say people are poor. Aren't we all poor in some sense? As Christians, we realize the blessing that being poor can bring: "Has not God chosen the poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom..." (James 2:5). But how many of us have actually experienced poverty? How many people in my circle in New Jersey have ever looked through garbage to find enough plastic bottles to trade in for $1? Maybe that's too specific. But I know a Christian brother (or 2!) who does this. What about living in a house without walls, underneath a tiny bamboo house, situated between two other houses who generously lend their walls as protection...? And this space houses a family of 7 plus 2 young uncles (total of 3 beds- do the math). Poverty exists. It exists even when I'm far away from it, enjoying hot showers, coffee creamers and the illusion of safety. Poverty exists while I'm right across the street to it, but comfortably writing about it on a laptop in an air conditioned room. What is my responsibility? What is the church's responsibility? Pray? Give money? "Come quickly, Lord!"??
We should probably do what Felipe does. Pray, pray, pray, and show that man how valued he is by his heavenly Father. Invite him to church, counsel him during the day and give him a job to do before Bible Study on Thursday night... and keep our eyes open to what other real needs surround us and how we can be His hands and feet.