I first published this post on December 3, 2009. After visiting inner-city Montgomery alone at twilight for a ministry event, I was shocked and ashamed at the fear I felt there.
I have a confession to make. In my heart, I am a segregationist. Yes, I am waiting to adopt a precious child from Africa, yet I live by sinful, imaginary walls.
Segregation is not a problem from the Civil Rights era. It is alive today.
It is not just an issue that resides in our schools or neighborhoods, but in our hearts.
It is not just about race, but about ALL of those walls that we build.
Some walls are intentional, but most are built out of our negligence. I am not talking (only) about the kind of segregation that probably comes into your mind.
What I am talking about is our sick need to live “sterile” lives. MY compulsion to live a sterile life. MY sinful desire to stay AWAY from crime, poverty, and sickness… to the point that I resist loving people in need, and then soothe my guilty conscience by sending Christmas tennis shoes and PERHAPS a modest check.
“Oh, but wait!” I argue with myself. “You’d do more if you had time! You’re so busy with your adoption, and that’s a good thing! Your money and time are tied up in that. And what’s more, you’re a wife and mother first!”
And then I think of families like the Kelly’s who live in inner-city Montgomery, against the advice of many worried, rich Christians who wring hands over the safety of their four young boys. The Kelly’s don’t cash in on excuses. They have centered their entire LIVES around getting dirty loving others. They run a massive ministry, mentoring countless children and transforming an entire neighborhood for Christ. They put family priorities right after seeking God’s kingdom.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God… and all these things will be added unto you…”
As I write this, my words drip with hypocrisy. My heart is so fearful, and so selfish, it will take an act of God to break me and make me into the Christian I long to be. I need God to increase my faith that He is able to do it.
He IS able to do it.
So let’s drop the fear and answer God’s call.
Here is the call: Recenter your life.
Move to a needy neighborhood, and make your days about ministering to them.
Or take in someone who has no home.
Or give up your plush career, and instead use your gifts to further the kingdom.
OR, stay where you are, but figure out how to give God ALL OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES, and live them out as a sacrifice to Him.
Whatever you do, DON’T neatly sanitize your life into boxes. “Church” here, “work” here, “family” here, “acts of service” one Saturday a month. Let Christ so deeply penetrate every area of who we are that ALL of the lines are beautifully messy!!!