Are you called to move into an impoverished community? We need to ask ourselves: Are we really following the Jesus who told the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give the money to the poor? Are we following the same Jesus who said to take up our Cross and follow him?

We desire comfort so much. We desire to be away from the sick and the poor. We desire to not deal with the mentally ill. Something is wrong.

Our Lives Are Not Our Own
My wife and I have been blessed to have lived in impoverished communities. Our first place was a small 2 bedroom apartment. Four of us in this tiny apartment kept things extremely snug. We even heard occasional gunshots, and knew some of the local drug dealers. This wasn’t exactly 90210. But we believed God wanted us to be ministers of the Gospel while living there.

We quickly learned ministering in an apartment complex had many advantages. We were able to start fun traditions that connected us, and welcomed our neighbors into our homes. We still have close relationships with each of them today.

When our church started having community groups, I insisted on hosting. Knowing we had probably the smallest place of any of our members, I felt a little intimidated. I also realized we needed to be good stewards of what we have and set a standard that no matter how little, it can be used to serve the church.

It all ended up being such a blessing for us. The tiny size of the apartment helped to make our time together intimate instead of congested. The neighbors became lifelong friends we are consistently sharing the Gospel with.

None of that happens if we are “trying to give our kids what we never had” or are seeking comfort.

The American Dream or The American Scheme?
I fear many of us have bought into this American dream of the hope of comfort, security, and lack of want, which is essentially controlling our lives. But as Christians, we know there is something wrong with those notions. Christ doesn’t call us to comfort. He doesn’t call us to exclude the poor. He doesn’t call us to seek all forms of security in our lives.

I’m not discrediting living in the suburbs, having nice things, or having a nice house. What I am really getting at is while those things are not inherently bad and many great people use their possessions to bless others, there is also a need for some of us to give up seeking comfort.

There is a need for some of us to give up security. There is a need for some to relocate to the city; relocate to “the neighborhood you shouldn’t go to”. You will be surprised to see the sovereignty of God at work in your life, to take care and protect you, in spite of moving to an area that may be hostile to the Gospel. You will also be surprised to see others who are doing it, and have been for years.

Why Not Us?
Elisabeth Elliott recently passed away. Her and her husband Jim’s writings and stories impacted me greatly. They were missionaries who sought to bring the Gospel to a tribe of people in Ecuador. This resulted in Jim losing his life at the hands of this tribe, and Elisabeth risking her and her daughter’s life to see these people come to Christ.

We look at them and say they are heroes in the faith. And while I agree, I also ask what about us? What about the mission opportunities in our very own cities? What about the mission opportunities 20 minutes across town?

Christ said, the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few (Matt. 9:37). Maybe God has called you to a different mission, which is good. But there are some who may be called to move to the city; to live and minister among the poor.
You won’t receive recognition. You will get to be a light in a dark community. You will be highly valued for doing the simple things, like going to work and caring for your home. You will be a highly valued member of the community. And ultimately, you will be surprised with all the opportunities to talk about Jesus to many people. And maybe we can show there is love in the heart of the city after all.
For further reading, try With Justice For All by John Perkins.

Would you ever consider relocating to an impoverished community?


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