Investing life…


“When we invest our money in the poor, we make the poor into beggars; when we invest in programs for the poor, we turn the poor into beneficiaries; when we invest our life in the poor, the poor will reap life.” Christopher Heuertz in his book “Simple Spirituality”

HAYLEY is a valued friend in our small dysfunctional “youth group”…she’s 14 years old and pregnant. On Monday her Mother had booked an abortion to “get rid of the problem”. Thursday (Nov. 18th, 2010) two of our youth volunteers took Hayley and her Mother reluctantly to the Pregnancy Care Centre where they received simple and straightforward information about the options available and they heard a strong voice speaking about the value of life. Despite tremendous pressure from the baby’s “father” and a still “undecided” Mother…the appointment for Monday has been cancelled and Hayley is passionate about keeping the life of her baby and giving it up for adoption once it’s born.

Because life is shared together…life is saved…

MELISSA and her six-year-old son fled from the Bahamas after a horrific sexual assault and violent episode. Fleeing for her life, she came to Canada…a place where no one would think to look for her. As you can imagine, there are significant barriers for Melissa and her son fitting into our culture…everything from the fear of snow & ice to accessing the proper resources (her ‘Refuge Claimant’ status makes it virtually impossible). Melissa really struggles with her mental health…wanting to ‘give up the fight’ to live. As we have opened our lives to them, Melissa and her son have found community. One where they can receive hugs & ‘words of life’ whenever they need it. They need a lot of practical help, but also a place where they can give back in community so they can find dignity and value. They’ve become regulars at serving and caring at our Family Centre.

When life is shared in community…life is given value and purpose…

When we are willing to go to the ‘hard places’ of life with people…and represent Jesus there…life is shared through our words and actions.

There are 140,000 people living in Poverty (as defined by our Federal Government) in Calgary…90,000 of them are “working poor” (they have employment, but it pays below a ‘living wage’). I can’t help but think, if we would just allow God to disturb our cozy little world on behalf of those most in need, then we would see this ‘kingdom life’ we talk about. But as long as ‘suffering people’ are just a statistic to us, we will never be ‘ruined’ for ‘kingdom life’ as we know it. When suffering becomes personal to us, we can no longer stay disconnected from it.

I can honestly say that I’ve discovered a real value and richness in relationships and the stuff I do, that I never felt in any role/job I’ve had before…I’ve discovered how to find true joy in the middle of the craziest and most difficult circumstances, and I’ve learned that when I care for the ones Jesus loves, it actually draws me closer to Him. I believe Jesus is the only thing that can fix all of the broken crap in our world. When we pay the highest price of ‘giving our lives’ so that others can find LIFE, then we will see the sick being healed…the “rightness of God” will win out over darkness…the ‘hardened’ will find mercy (softness)…the lonely will be placed in families…and LIFE will return to the barrenness of people’s existence.

Peace,
Daniel Schuster
Calgary

~ by blueporch on November 20, 2010.

3 Responses to “Investing life…”

  1. my good friend Duane was one of the youth leaders who went with Hayley to the Pregnancy Care Centre on Thursday…how awesome is it to be in community with others who don’t mind ‘getting dirty’ for the kingdom…

  2. Daniel…

    Great stories and heartfelt connect… love that you are living what you are talking about…

    With the quote from Christopher i might add to that thought “when we invest JUST give our money”…. coming from from Thailand recenly where we just saw a flood wipe out a city i am watching how money put in the hands of those with relationship and connect is bringing life and making a huge difference. The difference is there was relationship already….people were sharing their lives with the poor and money added to that certainly empowered those helping the victims of the flood or the poor would just get poorer.

    just a thought
    Todd

  3. Of course I would totally agree that money in the hands of those already extending life to others is very helpful and needed (we are such a community as this)…

    I don’t think Christopher is trying to say ‘don’t give money to the poor…don’t have programs”…it’s when we see the end of solution to be ‘giving money’ or ‘having a program’ that it sucks the ‘life’ out of it…who will get down and dirty, roll up their sleeves and risk touching others as Christ would have us?

    He’s referring to things like…

    Christmas is coming and many oil companies in Calgary love to throw money at the poor through creating a ‘toy mountain’ (gifts for poor kids)…I think all that does is ease their consciences…

    We have churches here in Calgary that have an annual ‘feed the hungry’ meal…how pathetic! that’s the program approach…it doesn’t do much but ‘give them a fish for the day’…

    The point is…it’s far more ‘costly’ to share our lives with others…it’s easy to throw money at a problem or to create a program to deal with it…it’s hard and we have very few examples of lives being given for the solution…

    good wrestle…

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