More of Us than Them

 September 2010                    

The task appears impossible.  Whenever media tell a story about the poor or disenfranchised in our communities, it looks overwhelming as if we are using band aids to cure an epidemic.  Even Jesus told us that we would always have the poor among us. 

We may never lick the problem, but can’t some progress happen?  After all, most of us have a desire to bless these folks in some way.  I find myself driving by such a home or person and thinking that something could be done.  Maybe, that is the problem. 

Is thinking about the problem a form of self-justification for failure to get involved?  I can give a token gift to an organization that feeds the hungry and then feel good casually mentioning it while dining out with friends.  Church mission conferences let me celebrate the sacrifices of others without ever doing it myself.  I serve on the boards of two organizations committed to serving the hurting, RUSH Initiative and Safe Harbor.  Both struggle to recruit volunteers. 

The good news is that the numbers are on our side.  There are more of us that can help than those who are hurting.  If every person of faith showed the love of God to just one person or family, we could make a giant leap toward a solution. 

We have proven that the shotgun approach has fundamental weaknesses.  Oh, our holiday escapades into poor neighborhoods, government programs and mission trips have been used to help some people, but the need is growing not shrinking. 

I have some dear friends in Atlanta who adopt an international student most years.  They find ways to share meals, holidays and their very lives.  They have made a difference but discovered that the joy surpassed the work and sacrifice.  Imagine how our communities would change if the majority did this for the minority-the poor! 

You may be thinking that the solution is more mind boggling than the problem.  This adoption idea may even sound crazy.  If not this, what?  If we opened our eyes to the people in our daily paths, we would see faces asking for more than a handout. 

If you want to make a new friend, you better hurry.  Those cold winter nights are coming soon.


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