Pause and create the space to serve…start small, even one hour a month.
Does that sound reasonable?
“But what if I only have an hour? Or $5 per month to contribute? Is it even worth it?”
An hour a week or month isn’t a lot for one person. What we miss, though, is that this fight is not solved by one individual but through our combined efforts. What if one thousand people reading this dedicated one hour a month? In one year that’s twelve thousand hours dedicated to providing opportunities and creating relationships with one another.
Recently Terence Lester was at his center Love Beyond Walls when a car pulled into their lot. They had just finished their morning program and ran out of bags of food. An older woman got out of the car and made her way to the lobby. She shared part of her story,
I’m eighty-three years old. I’ve got cancer and don’t want any more surgeries. If I go – I just go. I have my grandson in the car and he’s out of school for the summer. I don’t have enough to feed him now that he’s out of school.
The woman started tearing up, and Terence was running through how they could help this woman even though they had just run out of groceries.
At the same time, another car pulled in to Love Beyond Walls’ parking lot and a volunteer got out of her car, opened her trunk, pulled out bags of groceries, and dropped them off as donations. Terence and the center’s staff immediately directed the volunteer to help put the donated food in the grandmother’s car, and grandma burst into tears.
It took the volunteer twenty-five minutes to drive to the center and only a few minutes to round up the food in her pantry to donate. Less than an hour of time helped feed a family. No matter how small the act is, it matters.
You might say giving someone something will not eliminate a huge problem like poverty. However, Terence is not advocating for people to receive free things and for others to give so they feel good about themselves. He’s calling for more than that, for a revolution and radical change in our priorities. Terence is advocating for people to realize how much of an impact we could have if we spent more time with people – serving, seeing, and loving those on the margins of society.
It takes bravery to stand up to the lives we’re living and change. Often it means we must let go of something else we’re doing. Maybe it’s even something good. It starts with an introspective look at our own values and then at how those values permeate our lives.
What if we spent all that time building people up instead of building up bigger storehouses for all our possessions? How would the world change if we created some margin to serve the vulnerable, marginalized, and voiceless? Wasn’t that the side Jesus was on?
The content above is extracted and edited from, I See You: How Love Opens Our Eyes to Invisible People, by Terence Lester. The book is available on Amazon and you can check it out from the Anderson Library system.
Love Beyond Walls exists to bring dignity to the homeless and poor by providing a voice, visibility, shelter, community, grooming and support services to achieve self-sufficiency.