I have had the privilege of attending the CCDA Conference over the last 4 days in Cincinnati, Ohio. It has been a great time of worship, teaching and being convicted. It is truly great to be around people who are like minded that have a passion for God’s heart of justice and mercy. One of the speakers that struck home the most was Bart Campalo who lives in Cincy and loves on a specific neighborhood.
I see something in my life and others where we want recognition about the work that we do. It is so easy to be in the comparison mode as believers where we want to always top someone’s work or ministry. I noticed in the worship list a mention of a name from my past, Jill Shook. I thought what are the odds that this is the same Jill from my Cal-Poly days. She had actually made something for our wedding. As I walked into the seminar it was obvious that she was a real leader in the affordable housing movement in southern Cal. I was humbled to see her list of accomplishments via a simple google search.
What struck me as Bart spoke was that he was a realist who wasn’t going to brag about a miracle but more app to talk about the shortcomings in life and that crap happens more often than not. If my life is really about pursuing attention and significance than I am working against the Gospel and Jesus. I know that so often I have this sense of whether spending time with my Black Grandmas or Art my crippled friend or taking lunch to Mr. Sanchez is truly something worthy of my time and energy. I was thinking about all of the different kids we see each week and whether I should limit my efforts to a few that I deem to worthy of my energies or whether the ‘demon’ girl with a foul mouth that is only 5 years old deserves just as much of my attention as do the couple of girls who got straight A’s last year in High School?
Most people, regardless of spiritual condition, truly believe that some people are more worthy of help than others. We all have a checklist that we live out when it comes to helping someone. What got me, I already know this, is that God doesn’t want me to discriminate about whom I should love or help. If anything I am called to throw caution to the wind and seek to love the people or kids who are furthest out there. I know that this type of life pursuit is always messy, unpredictable and full of both heartache and excitement. God ultimately is part of both the good and bad that happens in my life and others. My struggles only reflect the crap that happens in other people’s lives. As I wait to see if a little girl’s mom is in prison I am hand tied because I can’t save the mom or make sure that this young girl and sister have someplace to live that is safe and secure.
I am called to love those who are forgotten and give regardless of what others think and say. Jesus sets the standard of our love for him, as we love the least, the last and the lost.