Financially, it's a lofty goal for this unemployed recent grad. That's not what I meant.
I mean, could I afford to live here
when some live here?
Can I live here
having been here?
The Bible doesn't say "Don't live in a nice house"... but it does say "give everything you have to the poor."
But who are the poor?
Are the poor the children in a hogar in Guatemala who play with one-armed Barbies but have the joy of the Lord in their hearts and it shows on their faces?
Are the poor the people paying taxes on their 4,000 square-foot homes who are on the brink of divorce, have disrespectful children, and hire someone else to pick up their dog poop?
Part of me says, no way, I will never live in a classy neighborhood. (Especially based on those stereotypes). I've seen too much poverty to be comfortable in a large, neat home.
Perhaps that is true. For just me and the dog, this four-bedroom, three-bath home is way too big. But what if I had a husband and children?
Through trial and error, I have learned some aspects of third-world ministry. I have been to places where hand sanitizer and toilet paper are luxuries. The girls in the photo above aren't just children worlds away with stories that would break your heart. We know each others' names, they are my sisters, and they almost knocked me fifteen feet off that ledge ten seconds after that photo was taken when they tried to all see it simultaneously.
Yet, as I walk through this nice neighborhood and wonder about the people inside of the homes, I wonder about them and their lives. Do they know their neighbors? Do they realize there's more to life than fnancial success? Most importantly, do they know that God loves them?
How can I walk my dog down this street
knowing stray dogs roam down this street?
Easy. On both streets there are people that have never heard the name of Jesus.
How can I limit ministry to the without-money poor without including the without-Jesus poor?
Third world ministry may be teaching people how to brush their teeth, handing out bracelets, and fitting them with eye glasses. It can be loving them, making a fool of yourself, and living the gospel.
Is that not also what is the first world also needs? Love, humor, and (most importantly) Jesus.
First world ministry is greeting neighbors as you pass them on the street, hand-delivering a warm breakfast to the neighbor's housesitter and inviting her over for dinner, or cutting someone else's grass because they're having a busy week. It can be releasing a child from poverty through child sponsorship and telling others about your Fridge Kid. It's loving the way Christ commands us and living the gospel.
He is the God of this city
Can I afford it?
How can I NOT?
The Great Commission commands us to GO and make disciples of ALL nations (Matthew 28:19, emphasis mine). I like to GO to another nation; it has become comfortable to me. But GO can also mean GO to the other side of the shurbery.
No matter where you live, GO and be the missionary you were called to be (Acts 1:8).
It starts with me.