Kingdom Contributors

A couple of weeks ago we realized that after the showers the Homeless Task Force offers each week the stalls would be filled with bottles of shampoo and partially used bars of soap. We were having a hard time keeping these items stocked so we decided something needed to change.

In the past, we've simply offered free food and free showers with nothing expected in return. While that felt good at first, we began to see that giving stuff for free with out any expectation of exchange, actually separates us from the neighbors we are called to love. One-way charity at arms length is easy and feels good for the givers but creates a false perception that we the givers have everything, and our homeless neighbors are empty vessels with nothing to offer.

So when the shampoo and soap problem came along we decided rather than perpetuating the charity mindset, we would put it in the hands of the people who use the showers. We alerted all of the "regulars" of the problem and appointed three leaders to take care of it.

Since then, Jessie, one of the homeless appointees has been regularly picking up shampoo, soap, powder and other items that are used on Saturday mornings. When we recognized that the neighbors weren't just needy, and invited them to take part, leaders emerged. Had we the "givers" simply solved the problem ourselves, we would have missed out on the opportunity involve Jessie in the solution. That to me is a picture of the Kingdom... neighbors moving from recipient to partner, from poor to contributor.