Two years ago, before our family started spending time in “The Neighborhood“, I wrote a post called “What if they thought of the church?” The post was about some of the people that we already knew who lived in that government assisted housing development. I wondered out loud what would happen if the people in that neighborhood thought that the church cared enough to help them…
Last week, I published a short post called “Missional Christians in 360 AD“, commenting on the how Emperor Julian recognized that Christians took care of the poor and needy, even the poor and needy who were not Christians. Last Sunday evening, as I met together with some brothers and sisters to pray and discuss service opportunities, I thought about Emperor Julian again.
One of the ladies who meets with us on Sunday morning lives in government housing in our town. When we first met her, a man was living with her because he needed medical attention. He had been in the hospital, and when he was released, no one would take care of him, so she took him in. As I’ve gotten to know here, I’ve found that she is one of the most giving and caring persons that I know – even in the very difficult situation in which she finds herself.
A few weeks ago, another unit opened up in the government housing facility. They allowed the man to move out of her apartment, into the open apartment. However, he had nothing for his apartment – no furniture, no kitchen utensils, no dishes, etc. Nothing. Our friend asked her brothers and sisters in Christ for help. They responded by providing everything he needed plus more.
As we were discussing possible ministry opportunities last Sunday evening, I thought about this lady and her friend. What would happen if other people in the government housing facility heard about the generosity of the church? What would happen if they began to think about the church when they were in need? What would happen if they asked our friend if we would be willing to help them as well?
This may sound like a never-ending cycle of giving and giving and giving… perhaps to some people who would take advantage of our generosity.
But, would it not be amazing for people to begin turning to the church again when they were in need? I hope the church would be willing to trust God to provide for those needs.