“BLUE LIKE JAZZ” CHAINS

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Events in our lives can be connected, like a cosmic, unbroken chain reaction. If one of the links in the chain is “broken”, you get a different end result. Here’s what I mean.

In 2003, Donald Miller releases his second book entitled “Blue Like Jazz” – and a good read, too. A guy in Minneapolis reads page 125 and is inspired to begin serving the homeless. He starts “Pancakes in the Park”, serving on Saturdays in Loring Park in Minneapolis. This soon ends but not before my friend Dave joins the effort. When the pancake serving stops, Dave begins to serve grits and oatmeal at a local homeless shelter every morning on his own. He calls this new ministry “2.4 Ministries”, meaning if a person were to give 10% of their time he/she would have served 2.4 hours.  I hear this new ministry effort because Dave is in a Bible study with me, so I join with a few other guys to help out for a while. That was nine years ago. As of this writing, I’m still there.

During my time serving in 2.4 Ministries, I began to develop relationships with several of the homeless and elect to step in and help out beyond just serving breakfast. I helped with bus cards, interview clothing, backpacks, socks or anything that was a need that I could figure out a way to fill. Then our home Bible study group read “Radical” by David Platt (another good read) which moved my wife, Carla, to have the vision to “get organized” what I was doing. We filed for a 501c3, asked some friends to serve on our board, built a website, got business cards and we were “in business”.

Now after only four years, our ministry Threshold to New Life has stepped in to stop reoccurring of homelessness for over 150 families. We’ve also provided for countless temporal needs such as coats, hats, gloves, socks, backpacks, bus cards, household items and the like. Our serving in this ministry has profoundly changed my life for the better – my relationships with my wife and family, how I use my money and spend my time and my relationship with Jesus – all for the better.

If not for Miller’s book, this ministry might very well not exist.

And by the way, I might have not begun my writing books and this blog if not for another series of unbroken links. But that’s another story…

So what’s the point?

It’s easy for me to get discouraged at times as I work on what I think are the things God would have me do – to develop my relationship with him or others or in serving others – and when things don’t have an obvious positive outcome I feel like I’ve failed.

I think the point is…that we don’t know the point.

Every one of us only knows Christ but for another person or persons. Have you thought about that? There really is no small work that we do in Jesus’ name. Just because we don’t see the results it’s not cause for our discouragement – its cause for our trust and faithfulness. One of my favorite Mother Teresa quotes is “I’m not called to be successful; I’m called to be faithful”.

So, pray and seek God’s will, then take action. God will work out the ending; he actually already has. No need to fret over it. Just be faithful.

 

[photo credit: clip art kid dot com]
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