Jesus spent his life pouring into people. His commitment to get involved in the lives of everyday people resulted in genuine life change. He shared meals, told stories (parables), challenged how they thought and showed them how much he loved and cared for them. Jesus demonstrated in word and deed that they mattered. People mattered to him; not just people who where desirable but also the outcasts and the down-trodden.
Jesus spent time with people during meals. At our men’s facility you see other men coming early morning to serve breakfast. By just being there, serving, talking and caring, the shelter men feel that they really matter.
I think about deep, long-lasting relationships that continue much longer than time in the program. After clients complete their Mission experience, start working and begin living life again, they often stay in contact, encouraging one another and holding on to meaningful relationships.
So, clearly God uses relationships to impact those we serve. But, what about the other side of the life-on-life commitment (those who come to serve)? These are some of my favorite stories. Allow me to share just one.
One Atlanta Mission value is “Transform. ” We believe God uses life-on-life relationships to transform lives. We saw the Savior reaching out to people, sharing with them, changing lives. Be it a tax collector, a fallen woman, or even a thief on a cross next to Him, Jesus was a people-person.
About eight months ago, a father, husband and successful business leader was touched by the Lord through a serving opportunity. This life-on-life relationship sparked in him a change he surely didn’t expect. He began coming to serve at the shelter early before work. He then organized a food drive, brought his son to visit, and later picked some of the men up for a cookout at his home. He recently organized the men to come to a men’s retreat at his church. He and I had coffee recently and I can still remember the tears in his eyes as he shared, “It has changed my life! I don’t think I will ever be the same.”
This month, our focus is on how God impacts lives through life-on-life relationships. I am blessed to witness people in our facilities coming to connect with the lives of those we serve.
At our women’s facility, there are Bible studies where ladies open God’s word, learn, laugh, cry and express love and care for each other. The women tell me what this means: someone loving them by being there, caring, listening and sharing. At a Mission graduation, you hear how God has supernaturally transformed lives.
So, the example of Jesus and life-on- life relationship is being lived out, impacting lives in both directions. What about you?
Who is impacting your life? I can promise that if you step out in faith, you will never be the same.
Thanks to all of you who are impacting those we serve. Our driving passion is to reach out with the love and mercy of Jesus, but we know that it will take a City Unified to End Homelessness!