Begin with Those in Need
Though we didn’t have any organized training, had never been coached or mentored, or even read a book about reaching out to those in need, we did have one thing going for us. We were more eager to do something that be would connect with people than we were worried about how it turned out, whether we’d succeed or not.
We did approximately 99% of our first outreach wrong. I was the trainer though no one there knew that I’d never knocked on the door of someone in great financial need. The half dozen guys with me didn’t know that I was far more keyed up than them. After a little knock I could hear several door chains moving — with each one sliding open I began to get the sweats — I volunteered myself into this thing, what am I going to say now? What came out was: “Hi! Say, are you poor?”
I made a quick recovery and came out with, “I mean, could you folks use some Christmas?”
“Some Christmas what?”
“The whole kit and caboodle — food, presents, even a tree, and decorations.”
The woman burst our weeping. Without saying a word to us she called out to her kids — turns out there were five of them — “See kids! I told you God would provide. Didn’t I tell you that last night when we prayed together?”
Our crew of volunteers, none of whom had done anything remotely similar to this before, carted into that apartment an entire Christmas layout. Was it a perfect execution? Far from it! More went sideways than well. The donated tree was the Charlie Brown version — the sort that bends to the side when the first ornament is hung. With the gifts, we realized we’d gotten some great ones but there was one problem — we’d wrapped them without noting the appropriate age or gender! All we could say was, “If you want a doll instead of a truck you guys can trade one another.”
What did go right that day? We showed up. No matter the appearance of things, when we are faithful to show up — things will end well approximately 100% of the time.
The works of Jesus
In the gospel accounts about Jesus’ life he refers to himself in the third person by calling himself alternatively the “Son of God” and at other times the “Son of man.” He was both fully God and fully man — a concept that’s impossible to wrap a mere human brain around. Historic mainline Christianity has affirmed this mystery for millennia.
Why did Jesus differentiate between these names? Were those synonyms or was he making a point with each usage?
Here’s my take — his use of “Son of God” he was referring to feats unique to him as being “fully God” in the words of the Nicene Creed. On the other hand, when he referred to himself he was showing us his human side. When he spoke in that vein he was telling us we making the point that we too have been called to do exactly the same things.
God is looking for change agents who are willing to risk life and limb in following Jesus — in seeing him as our model for life.