18 November 2007

Mentor Monday

Today I'm going to tell you about two very special people: my parents.
My parents aren't the type who would cause you to immediately conjur up trendy social justice pictures. They're more covert in their care for the least of these.
They like to take care of people. Particularly people in the fringes of society.
Exhibit one: a teenage boy showed up at a local homeless shelter. I don't remember how, although my parents could tell you. Filled with Christ-like compassion, they took him into their home and treated him like their own son. There were frustrations, of course--there always are in these situations--but my parents loved him through it until it was time for him to move on.
You know, I debated telling you the end of that story. I'd like to tell you that he is now an upstanding member of society, on his way to being a pastor or congressman or something of the like. After all, these are "Mentor" Mondays. They're supposed to encourage you to follow the examples of these people in caring for the hurt, and wouldn't it be easier to care for the hurt if you knew, I mean absolutely knew that your efforts wouldn't be in vain? But life isn't always Hollywood. Sometimes we labor in what feels like futile effort. I'll tell you what I know: God works your efforts for good in your life, and we don't always know the end of the story. In this case, though my parents fought the ish in this boy's life, he returned to some yuckiness. Today, his life doesn't look pretty. But it's not the end of his life, now is it? We don't know how God'll use my parents demonstration of love someday.
Okay, enough of that. Moving on.
Exhibit two: a young, single, pregnant woman showed up at their church. This woman--a girl, really--has little, but has a desire to know God. My parents show her God every week. She doesn't have a car, so my mom picks her up for church, though it's out of the way, and drives her to other places. They've helped get her situated. They've welcomed this woman's family.
I could share other exhibits, about how their church has reached out through the youth group to the outcast teenagers. My parents have been there for that. About how they're involved with the local homeless shelter. About the hospital visits they've made time after time after time. About the times they brought home someone to share our Thanksgiving meal so that no one would be alone.
Caring for the hurt, for the orphans and widows and homeless starts in your own community. It often means setting aside your own preferences. It often doesn't have some big pay-off, for our reward is in heaven. It's often messy, bringing people into your life. Sometimes you won't like it.
Enough preaching now. I'm convicting myself.


Pamela said...

they ARE wonderful people.

As for the young man, one never knows how they touched him - and what goes on in his head because they loved him unconditionally.

You just have to pour into people and hope that it doesn't leak out before nourishment is accomplished

Willowtree said...

That's a heck of a lot more christian than flying first class and then performing a shambolic ritual of kissing the ground like that stupid pope used to do.

Sorry, the hypocrisy rankles me.

Jennifer Tiszai said...

I was just having a conversation the other day about how the church could do such a better job about helping out our communities and truly being the hands and feet of Jesus. We've failed greatly in this area.

Jeanne Damoff said...

Lovely tribute to your parents, and obviously deserved. If we all followed their example in "doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God," imagine what the world would look like!