Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Heart for Others

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

IMG_0301Yesterday – I went to Sandtown in Baltimore City with a couple of other pastors (Pastors Sonia King and Selena Johnson – both pastors from Laurel). We were taking health kits and baby kits to Ames United Methodist Church on Baker Street to distribute to those in need following a season of unrest in that area. The need is great and our small donation of items will help but will hardly make a dent. The need goes well beyond the health and baby kits that we brought with us.

The pastor of Ames UMC is Pastor Rodney Hudson. I’ve known Rodney for a number of years. There was a gym at a former church and clergy regularly gathered to play ball and talk to one another – and Rodney would attend from time to time. On Tuesday – I got to see a different side of Rodney for sure.

We unloaded our supplies when we arrived and later we sat and talked some in the Sanctuary of Ames. A spacious sanctuary I had seen several times before when watching some of Rodney’s sermons online. We talked about pastor things – like the placement of the altar table and our mutual desire to walk when we preach and to be close to the people rather than distanced from them in the pulpits of our Sanctuaries.

CVS in SandtownWe decided to take a tour of the community – the blocks around the church. As we left the Sanctuary – the pastor pointed out the home where Freddie Gray lived – just a few homes down from the church on the other side of the road. He showed us where drug dealers operated and told us of his interaction with them. As we walked we met folks from the neighborhood and stopped to have prayer with several folks. Some were there for some services being offered in the city – some were merely hanging out – some – we were told – were working that area in a variety of ways.

We prayed with one woman who had just lost her brother. He lost his life in a knife fight. She had lost several family members in the last few years. Her son had a sticker on that he must have gotten from school that said I will make a difference and we encouraged him to do so. We also encouraged him to take care of his mother. He was very attentive to her.

We met a few pastors in the community – one was doing some street preaching – at the intersection where much of the action had occurred just a week earlier. Right outside the CVS that burned – he was preaching – amplified for all to hear – about the love of Christ and our need to repent of our sins. On the opposite corner of the street were gang members from two rival gangs – I was told this was neutral turf and that they still had a truce. It was surreal for sure!

Billy Graham Ministries had an emergency supply and ministry truck in the area and their chaplains were all over as well. We greeted them and thanked them for their efforts and ministry.

It was an eye opening walk – urban ministry is so different and yet the same as rural and suburban ministry. It is about building relationships – which is the same – but there are differences for sure and I am processing them in my mind (can’t articulate them right now).

To the church I serve – how can we help Ames UMC and other churches in low-income areas do ministry? How can we help them right now minister to those in need? We are so blessed – even as we struggle to make disciples and meet budget.

Today’s passage speaks to me about my friend Pastor Rodney. Philippians 2:3–4 – 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. A pastor we met along the way shared a truth about Pastor Rodney. He said in part – that a number of people can preach – work up a message and share it – but Rodney has a heart for the people and I added – you can’t teach heart! Watching Rodney interact with the people of his community I saw his heart and saw how people responded to him.

Do we have a heart for the lost? Do we have a heart for others? Do we think of others first – before we think of ourselves? Do we have a heart for the people of God?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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May 6, 2015 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for sharing your time spent in Sandtown. It’s time for selfLESS efforts.
    Hope more will come forward to comfort those in need.

    Like

    Comment by snoyes4310 | May 7, 2015 | Reply


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