In his new book, God At Work: A Testimony of Prophecy, Provision and People amid Poverty, our own Catch MemberPartner, Drew Snider, tells the story of how he almost tripped over a pile of clothing on skid row in Vancouver, British Columbia, that turned out to be the clothes of a crack-smoking hooker, and she was inside them. It was in stopping to talk with her and in listening to her story that he first discovered people in her situation were actually “undifferent” from him. Yes, “undifferent” is not a word, but Drew and I decided, after our BlogTalkRadio interview last night, that we were going to make it one, only because it perfectly conveys what we want to say, and in not being an official word, it will make it unforgettable, which it needs to be so we can all remember it.
It took me a while to realize that my wife Marti’s primary motivation for heading up the work of Women of Vision at a shelter for women without homes in Santa Ana, California, was not only to bring some joy and dignity to these women, but to provide an opportunity for women of means to discover exactly how “undifferent” they are from those in poverty. How you think about people makes a big difference in how you treat them.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
It’s what Drew calls the Acts 1:8 challenge. These are among the last words spoken by Jesus to His disciples. In this He talks about the concentric circles of their influence. First in their own town, then in their neighboring communities, then to the land of the outcasts (because that’s what Samaria was to the Jews) and finally out to the ends of the earth.
Too often evangelicals focus on the ends of the earth and bypass the outcasts “where the good people don’t want to go” that are literally at our door. It’s as if we step over that pile of clothes on the street to get to those far away. But that pile of clothes is someone. Like Drew says, “You can’t fly home from Samaria.” The people of Samaria are right here, and we need them as much as they need us — maybe even more.
To find out how God led Drew to his “Samaria,” listen in on our excellent interview with Drew last night. And click on the link above to download his new book. I recommend it. And next time you see a homeless or impoverished person and you want to stay away, think of that new word, and remember, they are truly “undifferent” from you.