Rejoicing at Skid Row

by Michelle Marquez –

Occasionally we are asked to step out of our comfort zone and minister to people we rarely think about. The people who, though Jesus loves them as fiercely as he loves us, we may ignore and altogether avoid when walking down the street or coming off a highway exit. Recently I had this very opportunity when we as a church body were invited to minister to the people of the infamous “Skid Row” in downtown Los Angeles.

The morning of the event I told my husband that I was nervous. Being one of many leaders at the corps, I knew that I would be expected to talk to the people there. I hadn’t been in this setting before and was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to relate or connect with them. My fears were totally cast aside, however, when we got to Skid Row. The people lined up as we served hot dogs, grateful for another day’s food. People danced and clapped as the band played and sang. And people accepted Christ as their Savior as the message of Christ’s deep and abiding love was given. One man I met and talked to several times throughout our time there actually preached to me.

I learned so much that day. I was reminded that the love of Jesus is for everyone—pastors, lawyers, accountants, drug addicts, homeless people, and even 3rd grade teachers like me. I learned that while I may be nervous, in the end, it’s not about me. That day I learned to set “me” aside, and see that all people need the love of Jesus.

In his book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren wrote: “We must choose to value what God values…The more you become God’s friend, the more you will care about the things he cares about, grieve over the things he grieves over, and rejoice over the things that bring pleasure to him.” God values each life, and it is our charge to value the same, and rejoice when souls, from any country, any ethnicity, and any place in life, are won to him.

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