We recently had another Think Day at Southwest Initiative Foundation. For those who don’t know, we have one day each quarter where staff must set aside “regular” work to do something that will inspire and equip them to improve and grow in some way.
I’d like to share a story passed to me from former board member Jim Keul that resonates with me both personally and has application to the work we do at SWIF. Jim has MANY great messages he’s shared through the years. Maybe this will inspire you, too!
“Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, a brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? Aren’t His sisters our neighbors here?” (Mark 6:3) These are the words of people in Jesus’ “own part of the country.” They are a way of whittling down the importance of Jesus. In other words, they say, would any exceptional person come from this neighborhood? It seems to be an enduring characteristic of us humans.
We spend our time (before the TV) and our adulation on overpaid commercial athletes and neglect the hard-playing, hard-working boys and girls next door. We look for heroic Christians somewhere across the world or in history and miss the ones we live or work with right here. It’s shocking that TV evangelists get incredible financial support from viewers while local congregations and pastors struggle and beg. (As someone has pointed out, the TV evangelist won’t be visiting you when you’re laid up with cancer. The local pastor and church workers are the ones who will be there.)
Support and encouragement of our neighbors in their work, sport, lives, talents, and achievements is so often neglected in favor of celebrities. The little people, those around us who are doing good work, living good lives, they need and deserve support and appreciation. The big guns will get theirs as well as outsized salaries. Recognizing the talent and goodness near us also builds community, solidarity. That’s what we mean when we say that charity and many good things all begin at home.
I know without a doubt that our regional community is filled with “heroes.” MANY good things begin here in our southwest Minnesota home!