Posted on 3/28/2013 by Tony Lipsky in Mission Homeless Family Promise
A man named Stan Caffy was preparing for married life. He cleaned out his garage and donated many of his possessions to the Goodwill. (Never mind the glaring question of why it seems men are always the ones whose possessions are taken from them.) One of the items Stan donated was an old beat up copy of the Declaration of Independence that had hung in his garage for a decade. In this instance, Stan’s trash turned out to be another man’s treasure. This particular version of the Declaration of Independence was a rare copy made in 1823. A man named Michael Sparks spotted it, and he purchased it for $2.48. Sparks later auctioned it for almost a half a million bucks! Not a bad profit.
Have you ever failed to recognize something valuable?
Like that old copy of the Declaration of Independence, you and I are worth more than we think. I know there are days when you may not feel all that valuable. Maybe you feel that you have failed God in your marriage or family. You wonder if because of your mistakes, God truly loves you. Maybe you’ve never served in the church and you feel there’s no way you could start now after so many years of inactivity. You wonder how God can care about someone who has shown little sign of spiritual commitment. Perhaps you believe you had so much potential that you have never lived up to. Rest assured, regardless of what you’ve done or how you feel, God considers you incredibly valuable. God loves you. And, God longs for you to live out who you are. The appropriate thing to do is give the world a taste and glimpse of who Christ it.
In Matthew 5:13 Jesus says,
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”
Salt can be so many things. A preservative, an antiseptic or fertilizer, however, it seems in this context to be more of a seasoning agent. Salt brings flavor and improves the taste of bland food. Most of us can relate when sitting down for dinner. Before we even taste the food we are reaching for the salt. If this is the function of salt Jesus had in mind, then how are disciples to be salty? The word “salty” in naval terminology is “one whose level of experience is extreme or one who is “in the know” regarding matters maritime. We develop that close relationship with our Lord through Scripture and prayer, living out the eight beatitudes that preceded this scripture in Matthew 5:3-12. To be “salty” is to be like Christ and live out His life. As we do so, we will have opportunities to help those around us develop a taste for Jesus. One such opportunity is being developed right now in Genesee County.
Family Promise is an outreach ministry for homeless families in our area. We may have a vision of homelessness being an individual cuddled up in a business doorway hitting you up for change. However, in Genesee County there are over 2,000 homeless families. Normal families like yours who love each other tremendously and through loss of employment or other extreme circumstances are now without homes. Imagine that nightmare, wondering how you are going to keep your family sheltered through the night? Where the next meal will come from?
Jesus went on to say in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Family Promise gives us an opportunity to be a light in Genesee and the world.
How it works:
Family Promise will qualify a maximum of 14 people for the program at a time (The bus seats 14 people). Each family must have a child under the age of 18 as one of the qualifiers. At any given time, the ministry could be working with one to seven families depending on the size of each family so combined the number does not exceed 14. For one week every quarter, a host church will become the evening home for the families currently in the program. Around 5:30, the families arrive at the host where they are provided provide a dinner, some family time and a warm safe place to sleep. Each morning the bus will pick the families up and take them back to the Day Center. Where the individuals will prepare and leave for school, work, etc. Those without employment will use the Day Center computers for job hunting or locating permanent housing.
As this program shines a light on a growing need in our community, we have opportunity for doing good work which give glory to God. By volunteering a little bit of time, either helping to serve a meal, organizing an activity for children, or spending the evening in the church with the families, you get to be “salty”. This is a chance to live your faith and add some much needed seasoning to the lives of these families. Jesus gave us a new commandment to love one another and by doing so, “all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Trinity Lutheran Church in Davison is working on becoming a Host church with Family Promise. Mary Weeden has agreed to be the director of this incredible ministry. Some of her duties will be to organize volunteers and be a liaison with Family Promise. The goal is to have everything in place to begin this ministry in the 4th quarter of 2013.
We ask you to show your love of Christ by supporting the Family Promise ministry and using your time, talents and service to be the seasoning in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
May the Triune God Bless You and Keep You!