Matthew 25:31-46 the parable of the sheep and the goats.
It is a passage that has defined a generation. It is a piece of scripture that has changed my life and lives of many more. It is a passage of scripture that has become the rallying call for countless people who have gone on to create and build lives and ministries. “The King will reply Truly I tell you that whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine you did unto me.”
30 years ago today. I was a part of a group of people who believed and shared the same dream and vision. Serving the least of these…. I am of course thinking of the official opening of the Mustard Seed Street Church in Calgary. Personally today is a day of bittersweet emotions and reflections. For me it is a day that needs to be remembered. For it is a day that has changed my life, my family’s life and the lives of many people who have become close friends and family.
When we started the Seed, we were a collection young people with a dream and a vision to make a difference, to change lives, to share the love of Jesus. to those who society called the least of these. It was a dream of innocence and hope. The lives changed are far too many to share here. The leadership and vision of a guy named Pat Nixon, was very much the faith the size of a Mustard Seed… Wow!!!…. From the basement of First Baptist Church to today. What a change! What a testimony of God’s faithfulness.
Personally, God has used those days as a starting point to live my life as a servant, to be a friend to those who need a friend, from rescuing hookers and runaway girls. having people live in our basement or on our couch was no strange thing for us, a baptism in my tub, crazy camp outs. Walking through Calgary airport dressed as a derelict, taking guys to the hospital, burying friends and building lives together. Today there will be those of you who will read these words, who were there that day. You will have your own memories. I think the common memory will the the joy and peace that comes from knowing we were doing what the Lord wanted us to do. We had a sense of calling and purpose. We were a part of something bigger than ourselves. I know that the work that God started there has changed more than us. It has changed the world; people who were involved have gone on to make a difference globally, heads of state, members of parliament, celebrities, two Governor Generals all have learned of and grown from the work of this ministry, God has been glorified and lives have been changed.
Today, the world of homelessness and poverty is vastly different than that of 30 years ago. Yet nothing has changed. The issues are more complex, the devastation from broken homes, broken lives, addictions, mental illness, the economy and so much more. but I believe much of what can be done to help people move forward is to help people have heart surgery. Our hearts need to have a touch from the love of Christ for us. I believe that by walking along side people we can help them change. By giving people a hand up they can learn to live and love again. I believe people need a faith awakening.
A friend of mine from our Mustard Seed days reminded me the other day that Poverty is more than a place or a situation. Poverty is also poverty of the heart, the life and the soul. To quote a friend. My act of worship is and will continue to be to help the least of these. As I reflect on that day and remember the joy and excitement. I remember also the youthful zeal and the mistakes I made. I remember the feeling that God put in my heart, that I was to serve Him. I have devoted the last 30 years to serving Him, by walking alongside youth and our homeless and broken friends.
I commit to you my friends and my Lord that I will stay the course and will continue to walk along side my street friends and those who are yet to be friends. To all of you who have journeyed together with us for those 30 years. I say thank you for being there, for your sacrifice and commitment. The sacrifice has at times come with a great cost. But we have not laboured in vain. God has and will continue to be glorified and lives are being changed.
As the Lord tarries and I have health I will continue to worship my Lord, in helping others. hopefully we have another 30 years of serving.