I’ve been back in my bed for a week or so now. I haven’t blogged since I came back inside, partially because I was busy and partially because I didn’t know to wrap up this crazy journey I’ve been on.
I could put the link to the fundraiser site here and tell you there are only a couple days left to give. I could write about how materially blessed most of us are and tell you some of the hard truths of poverty that I’ve seen this semester. Maybe I could mention more details about the forty five nights we slept outside, give you the highlights and the lowlights. I’d tell you about how close we are to our goal, how if everyone who read this post gave $10, we’d reach it in a couple of hours. But I can’t do that.
There’s nothing worse I could do for both you and the poor than to conclude with a post about giving and not about going.
To conclude this journey with a post about giving a couple bucks to Mission Waco, I can’t do that. Don’t get me wrong, non-profits need money and we’re called to give. Absolutely. But if your involvement with the poor and the oppressed and the marginalized stopped with throwing some money their way, you’d miss out.
You’d miss out on Derek. Derek shows up on the playground every week with his scraped up knees and his buzz cut. Last week, Derek got up on my shoulders and asked for my Bible. He’d tell me who to walk over to and he’d read John 3:16 to them.
You’d miss out on Wes. On Wednesday, Wes arrived in Waco from Fort Worth. He walked the whole way, all 85 miles. I asked him how he did it and he shrugged and said he prayed a lot. It took him ten days. I asked Wes if it was hard to be alone for so long. He said no, that the time had really helped him grow closer to God.
You’d miss out on Greg. Greg was a disney animator out in California. He created the character of Pumbaa from The Lion King. He became unemployed when he had to move back to Texas to take care of his mom and sister. They both passed away and hospital and burial bills have Greg in the homeless shelter. Greg draws caricatures for his homeless friends at Friday Morning Breakfast. Jimmy from the Church Under the Bridge just helped him start teaching animation classes to the community. He smiles a lot.
You’d miss out on John. John was an old man from the Navajo tribe who we met on our Spring Break trip. He was the hitchhiker that you’re not supposed to pick up. Dirty, old clothes, missing an eye. On the way to Tuba City, Arizona, he taught us some phrases in Navajo and told us stories, heroic stories about the Wind-talkers in World War Two and heart-breaking stories about life on the Reservation. My buddy Justin asked if he could pray. Justin thanked God for John and his people’s beautiful land and prayed that God would bring restoration through the gospel to John and his people. John said thank you multiple times and then went on his way.
More than anything else though, when our response to God’s call to love the poor is strictly financial, we miss out on the invitation to go.
Our Savior was the first to go. He went to the cross. Now the God of the universe sends us an invitation. From the cross, the image of love, he sends us an invitation to a new kind of life. It’s a life that goes.
We can’t show people the love that Christ showed us unless we go.
Go across the hall.
Go across the street.
Go across the town.
Go across the world.
You’ve been invited. We’ve all been invited. It’s time to GO.