I’ve watched from the sidelines for years and admired the work that Lower Lights did to make an impact in the lives of people who live in the Franklinton area. Occasionally I would dip my toes in the water out of curiosity only to stand back and do some more watching. What the volunteers and staff do at Lower Lights is nothing short of incredible. At the same time, it is so basic – loving your neighbor – that anybody can do it.
Chuck pictured with Gene, Program Coordinator for Lower Lights Ministries
I recently felt that God was saying, “It’s time!” It’s time to jump in and learn how to be involved in people’s lives that are struggling in poverty. It started a couple of years ago when I met a young man who was struggling in a number of areas of life – employment, finances, family issues, and spiritually. He walked into our church one day and though he and I seemingly had almost nothing in common, I was drawn to him. That’s when I began to learn that poverty had many faces that my conservative middle-class mindset had not seen. The complexity of his struggles were not easy to fix. In fact, that’s the first thing I had to learn –I can’t fix him! But I can love him, be a mentor to him, pray for him, and be there when everybody else says, “Give up on him!”
I am currently reading a challenging book – Mud and the Masterpiece, by John Burke. It’s incredible to think that God created a Masterpiece when he created each one of us. Each person has worth to God and under all the “mud” there is a masterpiece waiting to be revealed. What I am learning is that every person we encounter, no matter the depth of their poverty or the thickness of the mud that has piled up on them (or us), there is someone created in the image of God – a Masterpiece that he cares about infinitely.
What we do at Lower Lights is help wash off the mud with kindness, encouragement, and love so that the Masterpiece can be revealed. I have joined in with the Project AIM (Achieving Interdependence through Mentoring) team to help with employment coaching, tutoring and whatever else comes up. I have a lot to learn, but the only way to learn it is to jump in and do it. God is doing some incredible mud-washing on me too, but my only regret is that I didn’t jump in sooner. When are you going to jump in?
This post originally appeared on the blog of Lower Lights Ministries and was authored by Chuck Wilson, a Pastor of Dayspring Community Church of the Nazarene.