Growing up, I never thought I would live in a place that people might consider unsafe or undesirable. I didn’t think I could handle being surrounded by so many needs.
When Jesus walked on this earth, he went to the sick and healed them. He went to the outcast and offered them living water. He went to the oppressed and freed them. With compassion, he cared for those with serious needs.
He taught others to do the same: ‘when you have a feast, invite the poor and handicapped’. And he said, ‘when you care for the hungry, the stranger, the sick or the prisoner, it’s as if you are caring for me’.
But for me, these needs had always been too distant. I was uncomfortable even thinking about following Jesus into these difficult places. But then the doors opened to ‘move in’, and I followed.
I remember the day I first came to my new neighbourhood. It was late and I surveyed my surroundings with quite a bit of anxiety, wondering if I should take my laptop with me from the car to the apartment complex. Walking around the building, especially the stairwells, made me uneasy.
But as time has gone by, this neighbourhood has become my home and I truly wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Though not without challenges, it is an incredible privilege to live here. I have had opportunities to follow Jesus into caring for a friend addicted to drugs, practically helping a friend who can’t see, bailing a friend out of jail, helping a friend’s family who couldn’t afford to buy new winter clothing, welcoming neighbours who are new to the country and feeling disoriented, as well as sharing the good news with so many who haven’t met Jesus yet.
Where would Jesus live? Considering that question just might change your life – just as it has changed mine.