The Chosen Forgotten
One advantage to being a “little” older is having had more life experiences. It lends itself to greater compassion when viewing people’s lives and piecing together the circumstances that may have brought them to where they are, good, or bad. Perhaps this was the primary reason I was somewhat taken aback by comments made when I was recently raising funds to feed some of the homeless and disenfranchised people in Detroit. One comment/question in particular struck me as I wasn’t immediately prepared how to answer.… Why are you doing this? Especially in Detroit! I can think of better ministry to put your time into. It’s not worth it…their situation is never going to change, so why not invest your time and money into something that will actually create change and make a difference.
I wanted to give the patent Christian response of “God called me to do it”, and even though I believed He had, that wasn’t enough. Why was I doing it? Was it because I grew up there, and still love that city like no other?
I had never been homeless myself. The closest I had come was when my father showed up home after being on a drinking binge for a few days, and my mother telling me there was now no money for food, so I would have to go ask the priest to lend us $5.00 until she got paid.
I now realize this was the gateway, the first steps towards homelessness. However we were fortunate. My father got sober, and my mother had full time work. I gained understanding of the lives of those whose fate did not turn out as favourably.
But this still was not the reason. I had previously been involved in what the world and church would deem “worthy” ministry efforts. I supported foreign missionaries for years. Contributed to my church. I had even traveled to Nicaragua to be involved in mission work and teaching first hand .People applauded that. But not so much this. It wasn’t until I was reminded of the story of Jonah that it really hit me. Where I was headed in Detroit was a modern day Nineveh!
People have an image of Detroit embedded in their minds. The situation with Jonah was much the same when it came to Ninevah. It was a hated place. The people were known for their aggression and cruelty. Jonah had reason to despise them. He made a conscious choice to forget them and what God had called him to do there. He headed in another direction to Tarshish (a more favourable destination).
But NOT GOD! In the last verse of the book of Jonah there is a rebuke from God… In that city of Ninevah there are more than one hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell right from wrong…innocent children also. Don’t you think I should be concerned about that big city?
That was the reason! Just like Nineveh, if each person in Detroit was worthy of God’s love, then don’t you think I should be concerned about that big city also. And just as God had been merciful to my family, I chose not to forget His…even in Detroit. Let no person be forgotten…let no person be denied…let no person be unloved.