I’ve been thinking lately on why we do what we do. Often times people turn Christianity into a long list of “don’ts”. I don’t think that following Christ should be about all the things that we don’t do, the sin we stay away from. In contrast it should be about the things that we do, the light that we bring in the darkness, the love that we bring into the lovelessness, how we give and serve, that we feed those who are hungry and provide drinks to those who thirst, bring hope to the hopeless. That we love and see people, really see them, and include them, that we serve rather than demand service.
This is who Jesus was, he did not go around proclaiming the long list of things he stayed away from and sins he didn’t commit. Rather, he went right into the thick of the sinners and LOVED them, and met their needs.
During the planning of this summer I had an encounter with an unbeliever who really brought to light some things for me. This woman I met was asking me all sorts of questions about what we do, and she really could not understand why in the world teenagers would want to come spend a week helping out those in need, and she couldn’t figure out why we would want the responsibility of coordinating and planning it all! But one of the things she said that stuck in my mind was that “you better watch out who you help, you have to help the people that will be grateful and will appreciate it. You don’t want to help some drug addict and fix her house up all nice and then the next week she blows it up and ruins all the work you did, or loses her house or something”. I was totally taken back by this statement and I responded to her that we would most likely be helping people who sometimes are not grateful, but that is not why we do it. I brought up a quote I like from Mother Theresa about how “it is not our job to ask why there are problems in the world, it is our job to respond to people’s needs”. Maybe we would help a drug addict, but it is not my place to judge her, but instead I’m called to love her and help her and meet her needs.
As I think more about this, there are so many people who do good works that do not follow Christ. But what I realized is one of the distinctions. The world says- help only those who will appreciate it, help only those who are deserving, give only to those who will be a good steward of what you have given. But that is not what God says. God gives generously for no reason at all. God says, feed those who are hungry, clothe those who are naked. He calls us to serve and love and bring light in the darkness, without conditions. The world is conditional- God is unconditional.
It’s about Grace.