I want to begin this post with a passage from Isaiah. I hope it will remove any idea or inkling that I”m saying, “look what a good thing I did.”
Isaiah 64:6 (NIV84)
6 All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
I’m writing this as reflection on many of the comments I heard leading up to and following the re-election of President Obama.
The last two weeks I volunteered to help register people in our community for Christmas Baskets that are going to be distributed through the Rockwood Ministerial Associate food pantry. I don’t just gather information, I try to converse with the people there. I may add, I THOROUGHLY enjoy it.
These people aren’t well off, monetarily. In fact they are by all purposes “poor.” Monthly incomes that were reported were under $1000 per month. One person reported that the income for their family was $400 for the month. Tearfully this person and many others expressed their thanks.
I also heard stories about people being out of work and “layed off.” There were a couple of people that work in the fast food area. There incomes were extremely low, yet they were friendly and appreciative.
Over the past few months I have heard a lot of comments made about “freeloaders” and “lazy people.” I agree that there is a problem with the American work ethic. I agree that there are people who are taking advantage of the system. I agree that there is a problem with our government spending on social programs.
None of that removes the fact that there are hungry, hurting, people in America.
To my conservative friends who are concerned about overspending, a liberal president, liberal agendas and all of the other things that have been lamented…go meet some people that aren’t like you.
You will find out that they are hurting, hungry, defeated, poor, down on their luck. You will also discover they are people. Women, children, men, grandparents, moms, dad, retired veterans, retired ministers, factory workers. All of these people, no matter how they got where they are, who are in need.
In conclusion, this is what I learn the more I serve. I see Jesus everywhere. I see Jesus in these people and it verifies my faith. I learn from Jesus through others as he teaches me through to love others. Jesus is in “the least of these.”
Before jumping to any conclusions. Please understand this isn’t about pitying others. It is about me learning that I am no less reliant upon God for His provisions than any one else. No matter what my opinion of their circumstance or lifestyle.
This is the benefit of serving in the name of Jesus, not performing “good deeds” for my self esteem.