Part Five of our new Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…
By Heather Radu-
People are people. We all have our needs and wants, things we like and dislike — pet peeves, bad habits. As we meet and get to know each other, we get to find out what we are really like. This can be good … or bad. Sometimes it can be very bad!
For instance, my bad habit might overlap with your pet peeve. Maybe that thing I do without realizing it is the one thing that gets on your last nerve. Or maybe my choice of vehicle or what I do with my money is offensive to you. And maybe your choices bother me too. Then we end up being divided. This problem can get even worse once we cross cultural or socioeconomic boundaries.
The hard truth is, though, that none of these things really matter (in the deepest sense). Our annoying habits, dislikes, and cultural differences should all be overwhelmed by the fact that we are all made in God’s image. Every human being has dignity and needs to be treated as such. This can have a huge impact when you are ministering to people in need, even in your own community.
If you are like most people, when you help the poor you do it with the best intentions. You want to give people what they need in order to survive. But sometimes we are so focused on filling an immediate need that we forget to slow down and value the people we meet along the way. We get a good feeling, but those on the receiving end feel like we are saying, “We’re here to save the day, but you have nothing to offer.”
Bottom line: We need to make sure we recognize the humanity of the people we serve. What are their names? What is their history? What are their likes and dislikes? As we ask these questions and really communicate, those old socioeconomic boundaries just might start to crumble. That is, after all, what the Gospel does. It not only breaks the boundary between us and God, but it crosses the boundaries and brings healing between different people groups. As you minister, make sure you get this part of the Gospel right.