Live Where the People Are


You’re reading this, which means you have access to the internet. You might even own a computer and have the internet piped into your home at lightning speed. This “simple fact” indicates that you are wealthy, comparatively speaking. Maybe “middle” or “upper-middle class” wealthy.

Do you think most people are like you?

Do you think most of your neighbors are in your socio-economic class?

Do you think most of the people in your town or city can afford to eat and drink where you like to eat and drink?

Do you think they own their homes?

Do you think they have “disposable income?

Do you think they regularly get on a plane for their vacation?

If you do, I challenge you to think again.

Where do you think most of your neighbors do their shopping? (I’m thinking Walmart.)

Where do they take their families for “special occasions,” like Father’s Day lunch? (I’m thinking McDonalds.)

When you think of ministering to “the poor” in Christ’s name, do you think of these people? What do you suppose is the best way to minister to the majority of people in your town? Go every once in a while to a place where you might encounter the “bottom rung of society” and serve them a meal? That’d be good.

Better yet, live where the people are. Go to Walmart, McDonalds, Denny’s, the community center, that dive bar on the corner. Don’t just visit every once in a while. Integrate your whole life into theirs. That’s what Jesus did. Ask them to be your friends. Invite them over to your home.

You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to have meaningful conversations with people in these places. How delightfully honest they are. How made-in-the-image-of-God they are. “Upper-middle class” people—people more like you and me—are, comparatively, very difficult to talk to. They are refined, guarded, uninterested in spiritual conversation unless it’s a chance for them to strut their philosophical stuff. You would think it would be easier to talk—really talk—with people who are more like you. But this may not be true in this case.

A friend of mine said, “Sit down at Denny’s and ask your waitress how she’s doing. She’ll tell you her husband just left her and she’s holding down two jobs to feed the kids. She wears her heart on her sleeve. Walk into a hip, urban coffee shop and ask the same question. See how they answer.”

Now, I like urban cafe coffee better than Denny’s coffee. But shouldn’t it be about the people? Where are most of the people? Who are they? What are they like? Why don’t you go find out, and live where they are?

The Gospel is about God doing that very thing in order to love you through Jesus. And the Gospel Commission is that we would imitate our incarnate, merciful, generous, suffering Savior. That will probably take some deliberate thought, and some deliberate effort. But it will certainly lead to joy and the spread of the Kingdom.

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