I like to use my blog as a means to encourage action and share my experience in chasing after Gods mission in my life. Often, I have been successful, at other times not so much. I think that it is important to share our missteps as well as our victories. This gives us a chance to live in community with each other and learn from the mistakes of others. All through scripture we see Gods chosen instruments failing on massive scales. In a strange way this gives me comfort. When I fail, I can look to the word of God and find plenty of examples of others who have failed as well.
The main ministry I am involved with is at a prison reentry facility. We provide a worship service on Sundays as well as a small group experience mid-week. Over the last year or so we have stepped in to also provide clothing, hygiene products, work boots, and other small comfort items. These guys have spent years, sometimes decades, in the correctional system and earn the right to come to this facility for the final 12-18 months of their sentences. With good behavior they have the opportunity to join a program that allows them to get jobs in the community, save up some money, and begin to transition to a life outside prison walls. They come from prisons around the state of Indiana to South Bend with nothing. Upon leaving state prison, they must turn over whatever uniforms they may have been provided including; shoes, socks, pants, shirts, underwear…everything. The often arrive in dirty, over/under-sized clothing that is full of holes and a pair of flip flops. With what they can scrounge off of the other inmates they have to try to find jobs, including going to interviews. Its a mess and breaks my heart.
Make no mistake, I understand that each of these men earned their place in prison. Their stories are full of violence, abuse, and pain (although none are sexual offenders). They were criminals and deserve the sentences they received. That being said, those sentences are near completion and without someone to step up and help these sometimes unlovable guys, there will be more crime, more prison, and more brokenness. I feel like the love of Jesus, that we have the honor to share with them, just might be the spike in the ground that breaks the cycle. The amazing grace of the cross can change not only their lives, but ours as the community that is about to receive them as they are released.
What does any of this have to do with a lack of wisdom? Well, I have been trying to be everything to my guys. I have spent far too much trying to provide for them, in money, time, energy. I have a wonderful wife and 5 awesome kids that should be my first priority. I have a home to maintain for them, food to put on the table, school clothes to buy. My first ministry is to my family. I am a pastor first to my wife and then to my kids and beyond that comes anything else. In this I have failed. It has come to a head over the last couple weeks where I have been irresponsible, negligent, and sinful.
I love my wife more than anything. She is my best friend. In the pursuit of what should have been something honorable, I failed her. I wanted so much to be generous that I threw wisdom out the window. The same can be said of my children, they deserve better.
Thankfully, God opened my eyes to my sin. It was disguised to where I could not see it. The mask has been thrown aside and I will move forward with better resolve to handle my home first and everything else a definite second. Saying no has to be an option and pursuing help a priority. I am not God and cannot solve everything. When I try to be God, disaster will follow. I am only a man, a tool to be used by my Father in heaven.