Do you ever let 100 good things be overshadowed by one bad thing? I almost let it happen this weekend.
On Saturday, our Hope team from Peace hosted a homeless picnic in downtown Columbus, though to envision it as merely a picnic minimizes the scope of the event. Over the past few years, the event has grown to include haircuts (over 230 this year), foot washing (120), pedicures, dental check-ups, HIV testing, glaucoma checks, free clothing, toiletries, and thousands of meals. More than 100 volunteers from multiple churches are included in this sweet expression of servant love.
Across the street, the city of Columbus was hosting an Arts Festival. As I pulled out from our event and headed home, I noticed a street preacher positioned across the street from our homeless event, at the gate of the Arts Festival, spewing his hateful venom at all who entered. I was enraged.
For everyone who strolled across the Broad Street bridge and entered the festival, the impression of what it means to follow Jesus was clouded by the dark predictions of the preacher of doom, when a mere four lanes away was an beautiful expression of sacrificial love by servants for good.
Candidly, for a moment, I allowed the twisted rhetoric of the street preacher to drown out the voices of peace and love and hope I had been immersed in throughout the day. Then I recalled a simple truth: You cannot be responsible for what others say or do, only who you are and the life you live.
These words from an anonymous author came to me this weekend reminding me of who we are and what we are about as followers of Jesus.
Be converted to love every day.
Change all your energies,
all your potential,
into selfless gifts for the other person.
Then you yourself will be changed from within
and through you
God’s kingdom will break into the world.
It’s Monday. What selfless gift can you offer someone today? Peace. Kai