She came in the door looking for help but was distracted by a candy jar in the lobby. When our staff greeted her, she apologized for eating so many pieces of candy, and then confessed she was very hungry.
She was also disheveled and odd-looking – someone we might go out of our way to avoid under normal circumstances. But like the Good Samaritan, GraceWorks is called to help those that others might shun. She said she was in a bind and needed a gas card. We saw other needs as well – her clothes were inadequate for the weather, her shoes were overrun. Her appearance seemed to suggest that nobody cared, and so why should she?
It was no mistake that she came to us. I believe every interaction with our neighbors is divinely appointed. We know that through her, God was giving us an opportunity to be Jesus to yet another person. As ambassadors of Christ, we are obligated to see her through His eyes and to care about her. Not only do we care, but because of God’s grace to us, we are also obligated to extend that same grace to her. Extending caring grace is what GraceWorks is all about!
What comes to mind when you think about the word grace? If you are like me, you think about God’s merciful unmerited favor. And maybe you also think about God’s love for us and that His grace is a tangible demonstration of that love.
I want us to love and care for our neighbors in the same tangible and unmerited way that God loves us and cares about us. Consequently, the role of our volunteers who have direct contact with our neighbors is of paramount importance. They are the ones who greet our neighbors and speak with them to address their needs. In many ways, they are the heart of our ministry.
I am so grateful for each person who volunteers with us. I am especially grateful for those on the front lines, so to speak. I want to take special care of them, and I want to equip them for the important work they do, not just on our behalf and on behalf of our neighbors. These crucial volunteers provide our neighbors with the first impression of GraceWorks and they have the first opportunity to show our desire to reflect God’s love to a hurting world.
Consequently, we are reinstituting training sessions for these very special volunteers. Because as a whole we are striving to have a deeper reflection of God’s love in the way we serve our neighbors, the training is mandatory for existing and new volunteers.
So whether you already volunteer or are considering volunteering, I am inviting you to the first GraceWorks training of 2017. Please mark your calendars to attend the training from 9 to 11 a.m. on Monday, March 20, at Rolling Hills Community Church, 1810 Columbia Ave, Franklin.
Contact Erica Watkins, Neighbor Services’ Program Administrative Assistant to RSVP or for more information.
Yours in Christ,
Valencia A. Breckenridge, CEO