Last week, I mentioned a program that I was involved with where a small group of men meet at a recovery house. The program brings guys from outside the house to meet with guys inside the house in order to discuss Life. There isn’t a formal agenda but the one thing that I am very tuned into is avoiding any mindset among those that come in from the outside which puts “us” over “them.”
Sometimes it’s an easy trap to fall into without bad intentions. The fact is that the people living in this particular house have had obvious struggles. The people visiting this house for the purpose of sharing have not had the same degree of difficultly, at least not recently. The inclination then might be that those not struggling recently come exclusively to help those that have.
That’s not entirely it, though. The Life that flows through these times is a Life that is dynamic and powerful in the humble sharing of life together. It’s in relationships based on the recognition that we all have our junk and need each other to recognize it, be comforted in it and be better equipped to walk out of it. It’s giving and receiving while really having nothing to give until you realize that you need to receive.
Jesus made this dynamic very clear. He said that if we gave people who are hungry something to eat or people who are thirsty something to drink or visited somebody in prison, then we were serving Him. Not that we were serving other people for Him as an agent for Him, but that we were actually serving Him in the form of the person we were helping. “In as much as you’ve done this to the least of these, you have done it unto me.”
When we stop to share life with someone is homeless, ask their name and their story while sharing ours and feeding them with money or food then we are engaged with Jesus. If we visit people living in places that have just flat-out struggled which could include prisons, half-way houses, foreign countries or the guy next door and meet them where they are to share life and help where we can, we are engaged with Jesus.
When we engage Jesus, one of the two of us (Him or us) is going to be changed by that experience. It’s not going to be Him.