With two garbage bags in hand, the Word of God in our pockets and the love for the people of our neighborhood in our hearts, we began to pray as we walked. Our mission was to clean up the park and along the sidewalks. It was time to get dirty.

I often have wondered about this counseling thing I do. From the world’s perspective, I’m probably not a good counselor. I take calls from my home when people are in crisis and are trying to do things differently. I have prayed through many homes and have helped the husbands establish Christ’s authority in those homes. I have taken people to the emergency room as they struggled with withdrawals from prescription medications. I’ve gone out in the middle of the night to do interventions for families in alcoholic crisis.

Some people would say I give too much. I don’t.

I believe in the power of love and sacrifice. We, the church, must be willing to give when it’s not convenient -- to be willing to walk into the garbage of people’s lives and to help them walk out into the hope of Jesus Christ’s life-changing sacrifice.

The last day I drank, I made a call at midnight to a preacher. He took my call, and my life changed forever. When do we stop doing things the world’s way and become willing to do things God’s way?

When Jesus was here on earth, He went where others would not. He crossed the lines of discrimination with a Samaritan woman, and it changed her life forever.

“When a Samaritan came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’ (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)”
John 4:7-9

This woman then went to her town and told them what Jesus had done for her.

“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’ So, when the Samaritans came to Him, they urged Him to stay with them, and He stayed two days. And because of His words, many more became believers.” John 4:39-41

Jesus also saw past what was on the outside and saw into the hearts of people. He must have known this Samaritan woman would bring many people to Him through the power of her testimony. He took time to love her and speak truth to her.

Cleaning up the park was a small act of love for our community. We seized the opportunity to meet several people from our neighborhood as we worked.

Church, it’s time to come out from behind the sanctuary doors and get dirty for Jesus. People’s lives depend on it.