One of the most challenging parts of doing ministry where I am, in an area where there are few social services reaching out to the poor, is that we happen to be one of the only churches who offer emergency assistance for the homeless and the needy. And part of the difficulty is in learning to continue loving even when the occasional person goes out of their way to take advantage of your generosity. Here's a poem/prayer I wrote after a particularly difficult interaction.
How to Be Twice Struck, and Still to Love
Lord, I have need of Thy compassion,
A heart to serve the poor.
But they, like all of us,
Are deceitful and unjust,
And my callused heart can't see beyond
Their bare mendacity of soul.
Let me see, as You do,
That vice like this is cause
For compassion, not offence,
The symptom of a brokenness
That calls for pity unchagrined.
Teach me, Lord,
How to be twice struck,
And still to love.
A Note to My Readers -
I've decided to remove my Sunday posts from the weekly cycle. Although I hope they've been of benefit to some of you, they are necessarily secondary to my regular work of sermon preparation each week. I've found that having that extra post to write simply added to the burden of my work. For those readers who would still like access to my weekly work in Scriptural exposition, I would ask them to access the podcasts of my sermons (available through a link in the sidebar), since that remains the primary form of my Bible teaching each week.