At church this morning, the title of the pastor’s message was “Could God Be Calling Me?” The pastor was saying that there are people in this town with needs: children who went to bed hungry because they are poor or their parents are fighting, and elderly people who have to choose between their medication and buying groceries. He said that we need to share with them the message that God cares—-not tomorrow, or next week, but today. After all, their problems will not necessarily wait until tomorrow or next week! The pastor also said that God disrupts our routine.
Well, I came home from church today, and I pretty much did what I do every Sunday, according to my routine: I read a book while watching ABC This Week. I wouldn’t be surprised if others at church also followed their usual routine, though they may have gotten home a little later because of the church’s meeting after the service.
I understand the importance of messages like what my pastor preached this morning. They are calls to action. But what hinders me from action? Part of it is not really knowing my neighbors. Part of it is not wanting to get too entangled with their problems. And part of it is not wanting to preach to them, since that can be annoying.
But there are some things I believe in doing. I believe in food pantries so that food is available to people. My church has this. I also believe in helping people wisely. I remember hearing progressive evangelical Tony Campolo preach, and he talked about a group in the inner city that goes door-to-door and asks people if there is anything in their lives that those in the group can pray about. That shows people that there are caring people in the world. Also, it is good to have a community that is trying to help people. I as a free agent may not know how to address a certain problem, but others in the community with more savvy and wisdom may be able to help.
I don’t feel a need to go out into my town and meddle in people’s lives. But I also don’t want to go to the other extreme of reflecting this cold society, where people do not care about each other and are primarily concerned about their own problems.
I doubt that people’s lives this morning were disrupted by God. But perhaps they were encouraged to keep doing the good work that they are doing, and maybe to do so more.