James 2: 14-17 “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
This week I participated in Project Connect, which is a one day event each year that provides a “one stop shop” experience for folks in our community. This event is about having all the different service agencies (local and state agencies, as well as federal agencies) in one place so people can find out information about the types of services the agencies offer. These are services which they might need to be able to make their lives a bit easier.
I sat at the Pierre Area Referral Service table to help represent an organization that I strongly believe in. My other colleagues in ministry were working at the intake portion of the event.
Let me describe how Project Connect works. Faith Lutheran Church hosted the event in their building. It has a great layout for something like this. People enter through the doors to the church entryway and move through the hallway to the gym area. In the hallway there were a few tables set up with a pastor or counselor to greet each person or family and give them some directions about what to do next. Inside the gym tables were set up near the kitchen and a meal was offered to anyone at the event. Great pulled pork sandwiches, by the way! Tables were also set up with the different agencies advertising their services. There were also hair stylists who donated their time to offer free haircuts, and a photographer who offered free family photos. People could get flu shots, dental supplies, gloves, hats, and socks. They could find out about services they might need; they could visit with old or new friends over a free meal.
The reason I participated in Project Connect and the reason I am on the Pierre Area Referral Service board is so that I can make a difference. For me it’s about my faith, and my faith is also about being in relationship with the world around me. My life is worth nothing if I am not able to be a friend to another. All the giftedness and talents that I have are worth nothing if I hoard them to myself. People matter; they mattered to Jesus and they matter to me.
Is it easy to live this way? Absolutely not! Do I get frustrated, taken advantage of, and insulted? Absolutely! So, why do it? I am in relationship with the creator of this world we live on and live in. His life calls me to try to live like him the best way I know how. Relationships are hard and can get messy; they take work. But Jesus loves me and knows exactly who I am; he knows my faults and imperfections; he knows my strengths and the things I am passionate about. So, this is me. This is how I lead the church I pastor. This is how my husband and I raised our kids. This is how I teach the Bible. This is why I teach the Bible. Hope you have a great day and make a difference in someone’s life; there is nothing in the world like it!