Thursday, April 8, 2010

Outreach or Family Reunion? Hard to tell

I was reminded again of how easy it is to take on the missionary lifestyle even though it seems to be a dramatic shift at first.

Last week, in honor of Risen Jesus, we and many others churches and organizations around the city made a special outreach emphasis. Some had passion plays or Easter cantatas. We, like others, had Easter Egg hunts, face painted, told the Easter story, had cookouts etc. in particular neighborhoods. We all had a blast, were thrilled with the outcome and look forward to doing it again next year.

But this year for us was different. This year, even tho it had all the markings of the aforementioned outreach, for us it was more of a family reunion than an outreach. I mean, we knew most everybody that was there. Knew their story, their struggles, their victories etc. One friend was getting a job, one had finally broken through after the loss of a child, one who suffers with depression was out on a sunny day, one was getting bills caught up after a long struggle, another driving a new(ish) van so he could finally have stable child care, another wasn't there still struggling with an addiction, and on and on, story after story life after life. All people that we are a part of their everyday lives and they a part of ours.

Then it hit me...this was really easy. All we'd done was made new friends, hung around, invited them into our lives and they invited us into theirs. And after a season, we just discovered that we are "our brother's keeper" and we "bear each others burdens" and so fulfill the law of Christ.

I was taking about Crosswind at Rotary last year and was asked a question, "Bobby, how can we help." My answer (prompted from another great Corinth missionary, Gary Caveness) was simple, "Make a friend this year, a true friend, of a person who makes less than a thousand a month. The rest will come natural." Truth is, it comes supernatural, because it is the love of God that calls us to our brothers in need. For us this year, it was a family gathering. What started as a project to get us out in the neighborhood has become 'just another day in the park.'


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