Focus: Serve the Poor

My Building Hope job has an interesting balance to it. I work 20 hours at the facility (3831 116 Ave) directly with our friends and I work 15 hours trying to raise support for our cause. This balance allows me to interact with two groups: the needy and the compassionate.

I discussed repentance two weeks ago and this week we had three people repent, but let’s talk about my other 15 hours, the hours I commit to the compassionate. I am trying to locate people that will help us serve the poor. I naturally go to churches as a Christian is called to love and help those in need. I have spoken in 13 different churches in my time at BH and I have seen very generous people who have a heart for the poor. Unfortunately, I have also witnessed a world provide so many unnecessary luxuries to the compassionate and pull them from the true calling of the LORD. Jamie Smith’s book, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation, discusses the heart being the fulcrum of desire. This world offers the compassionate with so much comfort that they turn inward and become selfish. I am trying to focus us again.

This past week I went to a 5 year update on A Place to Call Home: Edmonton’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. This goal to end homelessness is lofty when considering other communities in the world; but if we focused and put our hearts, minds, souls, and strength to it, how difficult would it be? The Homeless Commission of Edmonton set a goal: “By 2014, develop 1000 units of permanent supportive housing”; and by 2014, we established 466 units. Now I live in this community of Edmonton so I share the responsibility of this failure, but we need to recommit to our goals, refocus our priorities, and try again. There is no reason that a community so blessed with human and natural resources cannot create 1000 units.

The attitude of not in my backyard (NIMBY) must also be challenged in Edmonton. There are real concerns when communities are called to invite the needy into their communities. These concerns must be addressed and brought alongside our concern for the poor. “David Berger with Boyle Street Community Services wants a panel of “independent” Edmontonians to intervene when neighbourhoods oppose new social housing” (CBC – January 18, 2014). I have talked with David and I think an impartial third party, who is knowledgable with the issues, can surely move us toward our goals.

Focus; we need to focus on what is important today. The past is gone and funding museums is not as important as building for the poor; the future is uncertain and building a bunch of RRSPs may never result in worth; so focus on today. At the 5 year interval of a 10 year plan we are failing, but we have another 5 years to recapture that loss. Taking care of the poor does make economic sense when considering policing, justice, shelter, and medical costs associated with the needy, but we are not even beginning to consider the blessing by helping the poor. I am telling you, we need to refocus on the poor. Serve the poor and we will see a difference in our love, love unconditionally and we will see our LORD.

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