On Day 4 the theme of the day was 'involved', and we started the morning session by looking at Proverbs 31:8-9: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (NIV)
Cecil started by explaining that the word ‘destitute’ means 'repressed, marginalised or forgotten', and asked: “Why should we care?”
“The world is full of injustice, and we all contribute to it whether it’s actively or passively. We are all guilty.”
What is Jesus’ response to this guilt?
“We can all be declared righteous. Therefore, the only answer to that love is to care about other people, to seek justice for others,” Cecil said. “This is what ‘Love your neighbour like yourself’ really means. He wants us to honour and respect the people He created.”
When Ron asked: “Who of you guys is a Jesus-follower?” he received cheering and clapping. There’s a few of us in the house.
Ron began talking about injustice and getting involved by looking at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.”
In Matthew 4, Jesus called His first disciples, saying: ‘Come, follow me and I will send you out to fish for people.’
”So right from the beginning,” Ron explained, “Jesus challenged His followers to make an impact. And very interestingly, at the very end of the book of Matthew, when His disciples ask about His second coming, Jesus tells them again to get involved by saying: ‘Whatever you [do] for the least of these, you [do] for me.’”
We are meant to get involved–not because we have to earn God’s love; that’s already given to us–but because other people need to know about His love, too.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
Ron made a point about Jesus’ first and final words to His disciples having to do with getting involved, explaining that this is a task that Jesus has given us.
Rich told the story of the good Samaritan–the least likely person–who took pity on the man that had been robbed. He had compassion, and it was the compassion that prompted him to act.
“I struggle with this story,” Rich admitted, “because a lot of times I see myself as the priest or the Levite who didn’t want to get involved.”
Rich then shared about an old painting in Paris that he has found particularly helpful in understanding the story of the good Samaritan. The painting portrays two men and a donkey: one man is sitting on the donkey, while the other one is holding him up.
“The painting helps me to see that the good Samaritan may not have been wealthy,” Rich explained. “He may not have been prepared to take care of someone who was almost dead. He probably didn’t have that much himself, but he gave whatever he had.”
Rich then told a story about a cute, lone duckling he saw in a fountain. When Rich realised that the duckling had no mom and would probably die, he and all the other people around felt terrible; so they started talking about trying to help the poor duckling.
“That was for a duck,” Rich said, stunned. “Yet every day we walk by people who have needs [and don’t do anything].”
Rich then talked about how compassion can move us to get involved, encouraging everyone to keep their eyes open so they can have compassion on the people around them.
Finally, Rich talked about how he had recently seen a group worshipping together on the TS Boulevard. He noticed that one of them was using a garbage can as a drum. “He didn’t have a drum, but he wanted to get involved anyway,” Rich pointed out. “God has given you everything you need. Grab the garbage can, play alongside Jesus. Get involved.”
What the teens had to say
Sophie (17) from Ireland really liked Rich’s duck story. “[It illustrated] the way that we care so much about things instead of people. I didn’t see it that way before. I feel like my eyes have been opened.”
“I definitely think I should look into missions more,” Victoria (16), also from Ireland said. “There are some people I know who do homeless outreach, so maybe I can see if I can help them.”
Sophie, Julie, Leila (all 13) and Elsa (12) from Germany already participated in an outreach this week handing out flowers with notes.
“[The outreach] was a lot of fun. Sometimes it was a bit hard, because people were surprised, and we had to explain why we were giving them the flowers. Sometimes people went away and ignored us because they thought the roses cost something. But we met a girl, and she was happy about the flowers,” Sophie continued.
“… and she was interested in TeenStreet,” Elsa added.
“My church gives homeless people clothes and so on,” Sophie said. “I was afraid to talk with them before. Now that I’ve done this outreach, I think it will be easier.”