There is no clause in the Gospel that says outsourcing compassion to the shelters is an alternative to working the streets ourselves.
I've ignored my street. I've pretended like I don't live on it.
I know that everyone has a different role and place in the world. Somehow I think, I know, I am still guilty of outsourcing.
I am a strong believer in the concept of lifestyle evangelism (I may have made up the expression, but let's pretend that people actually say it). That is to say that Jesus' words were powerful, but because his life, his death, and his back-to-life reinforced his word, they were more powerful, more truthful, more real. But I fall short in living my life in a way that shows his words. I struggle in the busyness of life and find myself grieving that I wasn't able to truly show Christ at the end of the day.
My youthful idealism takes over me and I pretend I can take over the world. I know this is ridiculous and idolatry of self. But even when I put that to the side, I am still failing to care and pray for the streets that I live on, my part of the world on which I am called to have compassion.
It's easy to wallow in this self-condemnation. My motivation cannot be like my seventh graders' "because I am supposed to." That is living the shoulds and shouldn'ts. Suffocating. Not living the love of Christ.
He had compassion on us because his love for us filled him with passion. His love does fill me with passion, but it is too often dampened by ritual and norms. How do I love the people on my street? The Hindu family next door. The family next to them. My friend who is a textbook case of post-modern sadness. My believing friends with no place to call home. The people who come in our doors and take what isn't theirs.
I pray and ask for opportunity to love.