Yesterday volunteers arrived at OIM to make 100+ turkey lunches: sandwiches, salad and pie to hand out to our friends. In the weeks leading up to this event other volunteers cooked turkeys, purchased salads and pies, and donated all the other food items that were needed. Our hard work paid off – by the end of the day 115 meals were served.
Some may ask why we did all this? Micah 6:8 is one of my favourite verses:
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
I would like to share some verses that Ken MacLaren shared with us the morning of the lunch, from Job 29.
Job was remembering how life used to be, when his house was blessed (verse 4), when he had a seat by the public square where others listened and valued his words and advice. Job was held in high esteem (verse 11).
Verse 12 explains why others listened to Job and honored him -
“Because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them.
The one who was dying blessed me; I made the widow’s heart sing.
I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban.
I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger.
Job was comfortable in his house (just as we are often comfortable in our homes) but Job did not confine himself to the comfortable. We are not meant to stay comfortable. We are meant to leave our homes and engage in our communities with integrity, mercy and grace.
The Matthew Henry commentary on these verses states, “When any business was to be done in the gate, the place of judgment, Job went out to it through the city (verse 7), not in an affectation of pomp, but in an affection to justice. What a profound respect was paid to him by all sorts of people, not only for the dignity of his place, but for his personal merit, his eminent prudence, integrity, and good management.”
The commentary goes on to say that Job did a great deal of good in his community. He helped those who needed help but these same people were not in a position to help Job or pay him back. He didn’t half-heartedly help them to make himself look good - he helped them with everything he had. He supported justice. He put on righteousness daily; righteousness was part of his character.
The Bible is full of verses I could use to answer the question why we do what we do. Luke 6:36 calls us to be merciful. In Luke 11 Jesus calls us to remember our offering but not to neglect love and justice. In Luke 14:12-14 we are called to help those that can’t repay us. And Galatians 2:10 tells us to remember the poor. Like Job, and as demonstrated in these other verses, at OIM we feel blessed to help the homeless on the streets of Ottawa.