be one of them

Since the short retreat last weekend I've begun thinking that I've been focusing too much on the success (or lack thereof) of the retreat ministry. Even the desire to draw the anawim here, I think, has been too important to me. As if I needed to see God's faithful poor gathered here to prove to myself that they are the ones he favors, that I needed to lay eyes on them to know they exist, or that I needed to be actively serving them to reassure myself of my place and my worth in the world.

I remember, from the days years ago when I first began to understand and be drawn to serve the anawim, that I felt it was even more important to join them (as Jesus did) than to just serve them. To be God's faithful poor ourselves, looking to him in complete dependence. I need to bring that back as my main focus. Not so much trying to see the anawim (though I do want to), or serve them (though I intend to, as much as I can), as to be one of them.

It makes me think of my conversations about church leadership last year. There was a desire to see the church organization better reflect the reality of the body of Christ. That, however, requires gaining power in that organization to make the changes, and the struggle with people who don't agree or who aren't ready for those changes. But I eventually realized that, whether or not the organization is much like the actual body of Christ, we ourselves can live as the actual body of Christ (the body he alone offers to us). And so experience all that Jesus promised for his followers. That is much more important than trying to get everyone else to live up to that ideal, especially when they don't seem to want to.

In a similar way, being part of God's faithful poor myself is much more important than successfully getting them here and serving them. I hope we can draw out the anawim. But my experience of God, my witness to others, and my place and worth in the world depend far more on living as the anawim myself.