Have you heard the story of the Starfish? To summarize the Starfish Story, it’s about a guy who was walking along a shoreline crowded with starfish out of water. One by one he rescued them, throwing them back into the ocean. Someone asked him, ‘Why are you even bothering? There are so many starfish? What you’re doing won’t even make a difference…” The guy’s response to the boy was, “It made a difference to that one” as he threw another one into the water.
Over this past week, we have spent a lot of time (and money) investing in someone God brought into our path. Like I stated before, there are numerous people who say, “Why bother?” You know what? That’s completely understandable coming from the ‘world’. However, it’s frustrating when it comes from the ‘church’. We have learned all to well this past week (month) that the system is NOT working. It only works when there are children involved… So, an adult who needs to start over, someone who has the desire to start making right choices, someone who needs to be given a chance but is not equipped to do so, should just be left to suffer alone. So do we, as the church, say, “Well… you’ve made your bed…” or “You have to learn to help yourself” (you know, that ol’ phrase – “ God helps those who help themselves”. Yeah, NeWsFlAsH – that’s not biblical. It’s frustrating when we reach out to other churches to help in this 1st step of getting her a place to stay. Some responses we heard were, “Have you tried the … society?” or “You know, there’s this charity.” Really? 1st of all, yes, we tried those. They can help in like, uh, 3 months!! At some churches, you can’t even get past the church secretary… The way Kevin puts it is that what most churches/people do is throw a dog bone. Someone has a need, they give $30 and feel pretty smug about that – or give a ride to the City Mission. That’s what Jesus would do? Church, it’s time to stop being so HANDS OFF and start BEing HANDS ON! We’ve been talking recently about holding on to the Skittles that God has given us, and to give back a bit of the blessing God has thrown to us. Hey baby, this applies to the church too! How does your church spend its money? A pastor’s cushy salary? Cushy INvents (events that are for withIN the church)? How do you decide if/when to help? Does it depend on the allotted budget amount? Do you even ask/seek God? So when a soul is broken, why is it that we, most churches, grab onto the bag of Skittles God has blessed our church with and hold on tight??? It’s frustrating and heartbreaking to see the church of Laodicea right here around us.
As a couple in ministry, Isaiah 58 has been a passage that has directed our ministry decisions – especially in the past few years. In fact, my personal ministry goals for 2009 come directly from Isaiah 58;
-break chains of wickedness/untie ropes of yoke
-set oppressed free
-share bread with the hungry
-bring the poor/homeless into home
-clothe the naked
-offer self to the hungry
That comes directly from Isaiah 58, but it is also exactly what I wrote in my journal on December 31st. I guess God wanted to see if I really meant what I said. The rubber has met the road. This week has been exhausting, I won’t lie, but it’s also been a week where God is more alive in me than ever before – that’s the blessing of obedience.
Could it backfire? Of course. Will she slip and fall? Yes, most likely. All I know is that God has called us without a doubt, to reach out to her, and “leave the results up to Him.” What difference can we make in this broken world? There are so many needs… Why even bother? If/when this one becomes whole in Christ, we will reply, “It mattered to this one.”
PS – We are just a baby church, of three months, with a baby budget. We cannot do it all – we have never claimed that we can do it all… in fact one of our goals is to partner with area churches to attempt to “get it done” in Jesus’ Name. We have stretched what God has blessed us with out of obedience – and faith that He will bless that obedience. However, how awesome would it be if the church would come together, to rescue one? Message me if you’d like to be a part of rescuing this starfish – and maybe we can rescue some more together.