Serving the Least
Sunset Church’s sermon series for July 2016 has been on the topic of Money. On July 17th, Pastor Clark preached on “The Rich, the Poor and the Kingdom.” On July 22nd, our small group dove deeper into that message to talk about how we as individuals could and would respond to Pastor Clark’s charge to us to support those in physical and spiritual need. Every month, a pastor or lay elder at Sunset has the opportunity to contribute to this blog. I decided that for my contribution, I would share a few things that came out of our small group as a result of that message, with the hope that it might inspire you.
To begin, I acknowledge that you may be approaching this blog post leery of what I may say about the poor. You may be suffering from compassion fatigue. Many have stayed up too late and seen the commercials for different organizations (Christian and non-Christian) who are saving the poor children in Africa for less than a cup of coffee a day. Many of us have walked through the MUNI stations at work, careful not to disturb the homeless sleeping in front of the entrance to and against the walls of the Powell BART station.
I fully appreciate and get that compassion fatigue is real. As a former social worker in Chicago, I felt it so much that I left the field to start working in technology. I lost my desire to help because all I ever saw was the hurt being repeated over and over again. Ignoring the problem is just so much easier than facing the problem. It seems that’s all one can do to survive through the pain and sadness that so much pain and sadness brings about. If that is you, Relevant Magazine talks in detail about some great tips to help you overcome that fatigue. Two of the four steps it refers to in that article are to find something you are passionate about and to ask God for wisdom on how to act on your passion.
Stephanie Wong shared how her passion for the poor (something her late father instilled in her) has led her to very practically support them. She prepares and keeps a number of “blessing bags” in her trunk. Each bag is full of goodies (food, comb, bandages, tissues, water, etc) that she will pass out to any person she sees in need. It’s a simple thing - just a few basic necessities. But as a struggling college student, this is what she can afford. This is what she can do. This is how God has inspired her to serve.
For me, my passion for the poorest of the poor in Africa was rekindled by Pastor Clark’s message. You can see and hear more about what we are doing in partnership with Hands at Work on the Africa Ministry webpage and Sunset’s Vimeo channel. Here’s the short version - individuals at Sunset support our brothers and sisters in a local village (Zimba) in Zambia who give of their time and very limited resources to serve the “least of these my brothers” by providing the only meal these orphaned children get daily, basic education and see to the spiritual and physical health of each of the children served by the local NGO. God has inspired me to serve Him by a) advocating for this ministry at Sunset and by b) going to this community as an encouragement and a source of rejuvenation to the care workers and the children.
So, how will you serve? Where is your passion? How is God leading you to support the “least of these my brothers?”