The Food Drive is April 30th through May 7th – which means it’s only one month to go before we head out with our thousands of blue bags and spread some good-will around Boroondara! If you haven’t yet made a plan to get involved, please do as soon as possible. If you are in a Connect Group, see your Group leader.
As the Director of St Hilary’s Hope, I have the incredible privilege of engaging with so many motivated and passionate volunteers across the Network, who are pouring out their lives for Jesus by loving and serving others for the sake of the gospel.
What Hope does is very much gospel work. Our vision is to be the arm of the St Hilary’s Network that is intentionally connecting with and loving those outside our church. Most of that is focussed on those who are struggling with the pressures and complexities of life, or who face significant challenges or barriers. The Food Drive is one example of how we seek to make these connections possible, and it works!
In the last few weeks, both my wife and I have had a number of conversations with people in the community who not only know about the Food Drive, but value it greatly and wanted to get involved. One of these conversations was with a couple of parents at our girls’ school in Deepdene, another was with a local retailer, and another was with someone I was chatting to at a cafe on Adeney St. The Drive is known and supported in our community, and so even though this is a massive project to undertake each year – both in terms of time and money – I really think it is worth it!
Not only does it help those who are in need, but it enables us to build bridges into the community, by partnering with our neighbours and friends to enhance the common good. Although we’re not out there on the street corners preaching the gospel by words (although I pray that might happen!), we are showing our neighbourhood that we are not here only to serve ourselves. Just as Jesus came not to be served but to serve, this should be our heart too. And let’s not forget the challenge of Matthew 25:35-40
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ …‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Caring for those who are struggling is gospel work, and is good for its own sake, but I also believe God richly blesses those who invest their lives in helping others in this way. Already our partnership with the local agencies that we supply food to via the Drive, has lead to open doors and opportunities to connect with individuals and families in need through our Coach program. We pray that these connections will lead to transformed lives.
In other words, the reputation and trust we have developed in Boroondara through the Drive, has given us the chance to engage with people that we would otherwise had no connection with. God is blessing us and our partner churches through this project, and I pray for more! One of the principles of the Kingdom is that of sowing and reaping or, giving and receiving. Although this has been often twisted by prosperity preachers, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Jesus said in Luke 6:38 – “Give and you shall receive.” We pray that as we give of ourselves through the Food Drive, God will empower us to receive a good return, not only in terms of food, but also in the fruit of the gospel: of connections made, the good news preached, and lives changed by the love of Jesus.
I look forward to getting out there in community with you all in a few weeks!