This week I finished reading the book Love Without Walls: Learning to be a Church in the World for the World by Laurie Beshore. It is a short little book that recounts the outreach ministry at Mariners Church in California. While reading, my idea of reaching and helping lost people was challenged. I began to think of how I like to “do ministry.” Often times I find it easy to just give people money or help them fix some little problem. I have this resource, they need it, I can help, problem fixed. Yet, that doesn’t really solve the bigger problem. Having a relationship with someone based on transactions seems sketchy. More than anything people want honest, real relationships with people. Being a real friend can often be more helpful than paying a doctor’s bill. Often times people withdraw and act different once you start using your resources to help them. It is super hard to balance an honest friendship when one person feels as if they are always on the receiving end. So, they withdraw and just call when they need something. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to turn relationships into transactions. I can be a friend – that’s all some people want and all that a lot of people need. Yeah – giving money to people and helping them with bills isn’t always a bad thing… but my focus needs to be on a relationship with them rather than fixing their circumstances. Give to them and allow them to give to me.
One other quick note from the book… “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Sir Winston Churchill. Sitting down and listening is the hard part. Really listening isn’t easy. Jesus, help me to always be learning from others and take the time to hear their hearts!