A "Day On" & Not Off
Today I volunteered at the Southeast Gwinnett Coop. This is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and the purpose of the day is to take a day to bless others in the spirit of Dr. King. It's not meant to be a day to sleep in, go hunting or stay at home and play computer games. So, I went to the Coop and rubbed elbows with the clients and wonderful volunteers. I was blessed immensely! I served as an in-take recorder and processed people to receive their food box. One lady has looked for a job since April 2009! She is loosing hope so we talked a long time about her options and ended with prayer. Every interview begins or ends with prayer - for many of the clients, this is the main reason they come in. My church provides 2/3 of the volunteers for the Coop. They gave over 9400 hours last year of their time, sweat, laughter and tears. In addition, my church contributed $36,000 from our offerings and about twice this much through groups, individuals and member foundations. By far, we are the largest contributor to the coop. I do not state this to toot our horn, only to show what one large church can do that has a passion and commitment to the poor and hurting. Over 3500 people were served through the Coop last year.
The church is called to walk alongside the poor; to enter their world and offer them hope and tangible assistance to escape the pit of poverty and despair. Dr. King gave us a vision for our life together on earth. He quoted the prophet, "Let justice flow down like a mighty stream, " and "make mercy the currency of God's people." Bringing real hope and change to people's lives occurs through radical service and sacrificial lives, not one-time, convenient and media spotlighted events.
I pray that all of us who love the name of Jesus will embrace his lifestyle of self-giving, serving alongside the poor and taking "days on" to reach out to the lost, the broken, the lonely and left out. I am glad my church teaches this kind of Christianity. And I pray all our members and our fellow Christ followers will follow Jesus into the path where hurting people live just waiting for someone to be Christ among them.