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No borders on God’s love

By Chris Surber

In his 1913 autobiography, Theodore Roosevelt quotes Squire Bill Widener saying, “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.”

Roosevelt’s point is that the greatest happiness is a consequence of laboring well. The pursuit of pleasure itself seldom guarantees happiness. It usually disappoints.

The happiest people I know are those who labor well in this world. They are those who are doing what they can, with what they’ve got, wherever they are. They are people living out the command of God in Isaiah 1:17. “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.” (NLT)

Happiness is a byproduct of laboring well wherever God leads you.

I was reminded of this simple, beautiful reality Tuesday night while fellowshipping with my friends and fellow supporters and partners of the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk. CAPS brings churches together from all over our city for the common task of bringing practical faith to bear in the lives of people in need of a hand up.

The most beautiful thing about CAPS, at least from my perspective, is the way God has used this coalition to bring people together for a good work from across many denominational and other divides. Laboring well has brought people together to glorify God through effective action in our community.

It is the same spirit of simplicity that brings people together to labor well in the work my family and I started in Haiti. I was standing in the foyer at Westminster Presbyterian Church fellowshipping with friends taking notice of how many of the same folks that are a part of CAPS are also a part of Supply and Multiply.

In my heart, I remembered Widener’s words in Roosevelt’s biography. I’ve quoted them often over the years. I changed them slightly in my mind. “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, wherever you are.” Wherever you are. Wherever God leads you. Wherever…

You see, it’s the same sentiment that compels Cheryl Griffin to coordinate the Night Stay Program to provide safe shelter for homeless people in Suffolk, Virginia that compels my family and all of our friends and supporters to operate Matthew 25 Houses for impoverished elderly people in Montrouis, Haiti.

Followers of Jesus are called to be unbound by racial, economic, denominational and geographic borders. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere — in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NLT)

Jesus says, “Share my love with everybody everywhere!” Local outreach and foreign missions are not at odds. They are two chapters in the same book. They are people empowered by God’s love doing what they can, with what they’ve got, wherever they are!

Chris Surber is the pastor at Liberty Spring Christian Church in Suffolk. Email him at chris@chrissurber.com.