Last week, I wrote about going to the IF: Gathering. And let me tell you what: it’s been a whole week and I still have yet to come up with a solid takeaway. It’s as if we were all bombarded session after session with separate revelations. Each speaker brought more impact than the one before. It was like listening to all the powerhouses of our generation just slam dunk the truth.
That sounds dramatic, I know. And I’m absolutely prone to hyperbole, but the words I have are not sufficient for the awesomeness of last weekend. I could listen to every speaker seven more times and still come out with a new idea each time.
For now, I’ll focus on what applied directly to my work here at Denver Rescue Mission. Jen Hatmaker (who I would really like to be my best friend someday) jokingly but honestly talked about feeding the poor and caring for the widow and the orphan. My own paraphrase of her words:
“I used to feed people God’s Word. And I used to care for the spiritually orphaned. But then God said, ‘Ya know what Jen? Sometimes, people just want food, to put in their mouths and chew. And orphans? They are actual orphans that need parents.”
She talked about how, with her husband, they began to pull on the thread of injustice that ran through their own city. It started with feeding homeless people, and then becoming concerned with the working poor, and then single moms, and then refugees…until they felt led to adopt from Ethiopia. Twice.
There were many themes throughout the weekend, but the one that resonated with me most was the power of relationship. My pastor always says, “Significant change can only come through significant relationship.” And it’s true. We busy ourselves with this idea that if we serve often enough, we’ll change people’s lives. But it’s more than that. It’s a personal investment in them. Jen said, “Their hurts need to become your hurts. This life is not an easy one to live, but we get to do this.”
We get to do this. We get to influence others. I don’t take that lightly. We get to work for the Kingdom of God, carrying out His commands on earth. I may be on emotional overload, but this weekend rejuvenated me even more for my work at the Mission. I literally come to work each day saying, “I get to do this.”
Let us not forget this privilege we have in Christ.