Sometimes I make myself sick. Not, like, I ate the wrong food or I rode a merry-go-round immediately following lunch, rather sometimes I make myself sick when I ponder my own immaturity, self-absorption, lack of faith, etc.
Years ago (people say “years ago” to suggest a distant past when they were less mature) I was invited to visit and tour the Southwest side Youth For Christ (YFC) location near Hilltop on West Broad Street. That particular area doesn’t enjoy a sparkling reputation…its kinda rough down there…at least as far as the “North Side” understands it.
I hadn’t been in that area before…never had a reason. So, as I drove in, it was unfamiliar. Unfamiliar is anxiety-provoking no matter what the situation. The West Side reputation helped me to bypass anxiety directly for irrational concerns. Those concerns deteriorated into fearfulness as soon as I inadvertently turned down a dead end street in search of a parking place. I wished I’d not recently washed my SUV as it glinted and attracted attention, and as I adroitly executed a 9-point turn between the cars parked on both sides of the narrow street, I simultaneously jabbed at my door lock button. The sound of all four doors electrically locking in unison certainly communicated what all those that had stopped to watch already knew I was trying not to show: I’m scared of you. Like I said, sometimes I make myself sick.
It was an awesome visit. the sorts of contributions YFC is making to that community and the young people there is beautiful. I met some wonderful people that had found some meaning and hope for their lives. By the third time I visited, I was comfortable parking anywhere there was space, greeted whomever was walking by, and struck up a conversation with someone i recognized from the first visit…we were both walking across the street to the YFC building. I came away with a new perspective and another layer of hardness gracefully dissolved from my heart.
The Vista 3:27 Project (Proverbs 3:27) has similar objectives. Partnership and opportunities to be involved in community service and ministry are more often about growing in faith, compassion and God-heartedness than about gaining a reward, allaying guilt or simply doing your part.
Most folks are compelled at some point in life to help others. But most folks are also anxious about new things, unfamiliar territories, and strangers. Add to those apprehensions a general conclusion that we have too little to offer, or little clue about what to offer. The good news is that no one who follows Jesus need be concerned about any of those dynamics, excuses, anxieties. In Jesus, we have been given “everything we need for life and godliness,” and as we add action and obedience to our faith, we will be kept from being “ineffective and unproductive…” (2 Peter 1:3-8)
During Sunday’s message we talked about how when Peter (Acts 3) simply offered one word and one hand that God showed up miraculously. There are lot’s of folks in our spheres of influence, work places, neighborhoods and lives who need God. What might Jesus do for them through your simple, even awkward, word or unskilled hand? It’s not about what we have to offer, but about what God can do with our meager efforts. All we need is a bit of faith and a small step of action. Go ahead, step.