A couple of Saturdays ago my 13 year old son David and I volunteered with a group from our church as part of a community cleanup day. Our church meets in an old grocery store that sat vacant for years in a run down part of town. The leadership chose the location in an attempt to "be where the need is" and, consequently, has attracted a diverse body of urban minorities, white suburbanites, and college students, most of whom recognize their own spiritual needs and are willing to help others shoulder their burdens. This unexpected composite is an imperfect image of a transcendent beauty which, prayerfully, reflects well on our common denominator: Jesus Christ.
The aim of this program is not only to help those in need to repair, clean, and beautify their neighborhood, but also to spark a sense of community, a sense of ownership and responsibility, and to impart hope through a helping hand. It's not just a hand out, it's a hand up.
My friend Mark was there leading out. That day we were cleaning a corner and power washing a house in need of paint. You can see the flecks of white paint on his face, but what you can't see is the water droplets in his hair, or the water-soaked gloves that made his hands numb on this windy winter day. You can't see (or can you?) his compassion and selflessness, or his humility. Neither do you see the coaching, support, and entrepreneurial insight he gave Ryan and I as we began our business, or the countless other ways he has served in our church. What do I see?
I see a man that fulfills what the ancient prophet Isaiah wrote of 2700 years ago:
"And those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell." - Isaiah 58:12