In the gospel God says, “I see you where you are and I’m coming after you.”
This is the whole redemptive story of scripture – a God who sees the distress of His people and moves towards them, not away from them. Hovering over His people like a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night – God was close, but out there. Engulfing the tabernacle with the glory of His presence – God was closer, but in there. Wrapping Himself in the flesh of humanity as the Immanuel, God who is with us – God was even closer, right here. To now, sending His Spirit, not to hover over us, be enclosed to a small space near us or even walk along beside us – but now to live inside us – God is now as close as He can get, in here.
We began meeting as a core group in a north Houston suburb in the spring of 2008. I was 28 years old at the time with almost 10 years of ministry experience and a clear yet uncomfortable call to do something I never thought I would - plant a church. I recently turned 38 and often find myself thinking, "If I knew 10 years ago what I do now, how different would our church planting experience have been?" Of course much the past always looks much clearer from a present perspective, and I hope to always be able to look back on a younger version of myself and see a growth and maturing into a better version of me as the years go on.
Stories are redemptive. They humanize powerful messages and help people personally internalize transformative things through the lenses of someone else's experience. It's important that your foster care, adoption and orphan care ministry is consistently sharing stories of how God is moving in the lives of families in your church. It's even more important that your use of stories is helping, and not unintentionally hurting, the broader vision of your ministry. When using stories – whether video, print or live interview style – to undergird the vision and mission of your ministry, ensure they are reinforcing your message and deconstructing false paradigms of your people.
When speaking of the widow's small offering in comparison to that of the rich, Jesus says, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had...." (v.3-4)
What a provocatively encouraging statement - that somehow, the value of her offering was not measured in quantity but in humility; not by size, but by sacrifice. Jesus doesn't discredit the offering of the wealthy, He simply redefines that of the poor. In that moment He stops and essentially says to all those around, "Hey, there's something truly profound going on here that I want to make sure you don't miss."