The little girl tugged at her mother’s arm and pointed to the man in the doorway impeding her progress into the clothing room. He was there to simply make sure people had time and space to find their needed back to school clothes. He assured all those who came to the door that there was no rush; there were plenty of clothes from which to choose and many, many more boxes yet to be unpacked. But that wasn’t the little girl’s concern.
She tugged again at her mother’s arm. When mom had given her adequate eye contact, the little one said, “He’s from the church that feeds us on the weekends.” How she could know that was beyond the man’s imagination. He was not directly involved in the packing of the backpacks. And none of the volunteers were in direct contact with the children. Teachers distributed the bags to the children when they left school for the weekend. But, she knew.
Her words were kind and affirming. There was no embarrassment or shame. It was a simple acknowledgement of something good that was happening in her life. And it reinforced the very purpose for giving the food. First, kids were being fed and were grateful. Second, it was giving the church (in general) good impressions on the young. Third, a distant third, it was a good reputation for the local congregation.
So, why do good in a community? Why help? Isn’t that the government’s job? Aren’t there enough agencies already? All legitimate questions with real and sometimes inadequate answers. But most importantly, we do this because it’s a witness to the caring character of God. In order for the Spirit, God, to be known, He must take on flesh. And that flesh comes in the form of caring, real, authentic, human beings doing good in their community.