By the title of this post, you might think that I am about to talk about some nice community that I have lived in, or maybe some neighborhood that always has the best Christmas lights up this time of the year. Definitely not that kind of place. It is actually a trailer park about twenty minutes from my apartment in Auburn in nearby Opelika, AL. It is a place that even after only a couple of weeks of visiting, has begun to change my life and see God in a new light. One of my previous posts was about waiting on the Lord, and I feel like this community has helped show me what that truly means. It is a place that needs Jesus Christ and by simply deciding to go, God has given me the chance to bring the Gospel to these guys and "wait on the Lord" aka SERVE HIM. Some are juniors and seniors in high school and some are just 6 or 8 year old kids, but they all need Jesus just like I do. I have been waiting for this opportunity to serve and it isn't like some divine revelation where I just heard about this place and had a dream saying "GO." It simply came through filling out a card at church and then an email. And as simple as that was, satan was still at work trying to give me reasons not to go. Whether it was me feeling sick or just being scared to make a phone call. but the Lord has a plan for this community and He has a plan for me. and I am excited to see what that is. All I am doing is playing football on a Sunday afternoon, but I am already falling in love with this community and want to serve them. Anything that I might bring to them is only a fraction of what they are teaching me and what they are revealing to me about community and the body of Christ.
This community is a place of poverty and there are many kids and teenagers of all ages living here. But regardless of the economic state these people live in, they definitely have a few things right that I think I have missed and many people with more money have missed. And that is a sense of community. These people still spend a Sunday afternoon sitting on their porches and socializing with their neighbors. They want to spend time with each other. In my neighborhood, I think we all like to sit inside and avoid each other. They are also very inclusive of everyone in the community. The older kids enjoy spending time with the younger kids. They don't try to kick the younger ones out of their football games, they openly invite them to play. I know for a FACT that I did not do that when I was a junior or senior in high school. The LAST thing that I wanted was for some 8 or 10 year old to come and try and play football with me. Not these guys.
And I think that is a problem in our Church today as well. So many times, I know particularly in my life, I discredit younger Christians. And not physically younger Christians, but Christians who have known the Lord for a shorter amount of time than I have. I get this arrogance about myself as if I have all the answers, when I am definitely not perfect. Just because someone has known the Lord for a shorter amount of time does not mean we shoo them away and restrict the body of Christ to those who have know Christ for certain time periods. What happens when you cut off circulation to the arm? It goes dead. Similarly, if the Church cuts off part of the body of Christ, that part will die. It will no longer be able to grow stronger. We must commit ourselves to encouraging and edifying other believers.
This was definitely more of a scatter-brained post than some others, but it really is tough to organize all my thoughts when talking about this place. I just get so excited!! But the bottom line is that we are called to serve. and to love. They go hand in hand.
"By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how can the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or in talk but in deed and in truth." --1 John 3:16-18
"But someone will say 'You have faith and I have works.' Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." --James 2:18
I want to love. and I want to serve. Praise be to God.