Saturday, September 22, 2007

People and Programs

This is a quote from Up Close and Personal: Embracing the Poor by Harold Shank, Anthony Wood, and Ron Bergeron:

"Most people like Josh (a homeless man) can get free food, clothing, and shelter at many places, but few places offer a connection with a compassionate person. 'Compassion' comes from two Latin words meaning to 'suffer with.' Giving to the poor without feeling their hurt falls short of true compassion.

Novelist Leo Tolstoy tried to rid Moscow of the poor by giving money to beggars in the worst sections of Moscow. The experience soured Tolstoy. He gave to people who only 'needed money to buy a railway ticket home,' but felt cheated when he later spotted them still in town. Next he organized the Moscow census to seek out the 'truly' needy. Yet his list didn't advance his cause. He concluded, 'Of all the people I noted down, I really helped none...I did not find any unfortunates who could be made fortunate by the mere gift of money.'

Tolstoy organized programs but never connected with people. Most poor people need other people, not expanded programs. God uses people to help other people. Andrew introduced Peter. Ananias taught Saul. Paul mentored Timothy. Since God uses people to reach other people, we shouldn't be surprised at its effectiveness in our lives. If we meet them where they are, we can be used by God to lead them out of bondage. Clothing closets and food giveaways work most effectively when they provide a connection between two people" (p.35).


Anonymous said...

living water. good post

Terry said...

Thanks, Nancy. I like anything that Harold Shank writes. "Up Close and Personal" is possibly the best book about urban minstry circulating among the Churches of Christ and Christian Churches.