This week I listened to Episode 34 of the The Going Scared podcast. Jessica Honegger interviewed Shannan Martin. They both have new books out (Imperfect Courage by Jessica and The Ministry of Ordinary Places by Shannan) which I can’t wait to read! Their conversation revolved around the difference between helping people as “projects” and building relationships with your neighbors.
This struck a chord with me because I recently signed up to help with a new ministry my church started. It’s called Fostering Hope and is a support system for families who foster children in our community.
I was assigned to a family based on my location, only to find out they are my neighbors directly across the street. What started for me as a way to take a meal to help out a family once a month has become something entirely different. For the first time in “helping someone” it doesn’t feel like a project. They don’t feel distant and unknown. I’m not just performing a kind deed. The meals I make, the needs I fill, the babysitting times are building a long-lasting relationship. Hopefully the foster kids will eventually be reunited with their parents, and my “job” will be over. But the relationship will continue with or without new foster children in my neighbor’s home. My neighbor has become my friend for as long as we live across from each other and even longer.
This weeks Pen and ponder was the quote from Mother Teresa, “It’s a kingly act to assist the fallen.” Is my neighbor fallen? No. But the children in her care certainly are! Are they a project? Not to me and not to my neighbor. She lovingly cares for them, and I lovingly care for her.