Last night was Night 2 in the Shack. The weather is still holding out and relatively comfortable…the colder air…creeping in. I had some young painters come and put their handy work on our shack giving the black, empty tar paper some color and personality. It gives us a chance to talk to kids about the home repair that we do and explain the problems with the shack-the roof leaks, air comes in the windows, the lock could easily be broken down and of course, it’s very small. They get it! Maybe our next crop of volunteers!
Much of last night was uneventful. Two friends slept in the second shack-the double wide or lovingly known as the “Super Shack”. Louis, who helped us build the second shack, and Ben who was on our summer staff this year, braved the loud, Friday night in the heart of Auburn. What wonderful servants of Christ!
So, here is the story. It was sometime around 2:30 AM and I awoke to go use the restroom-a bit of chore in itself-I’ll explain another time. It was a bit chillier this night so I had to get another light blanket so that I would not shiver the next few hours. As I was about to doze off a small group of students ventured by. I heard a guy read out loud our sign that said “Poverty in Alabama.” After a brief silence he commented with disgust, “So What”.
Shivering, cramped, sleeping on a 20 year old mattress from the Auburn dorms, having to venture outdoors to another building to use the bathroom, worried if what few things I have might get stolen, that is the phrase I last remembered…So What. As if to say…So what. Who cares????
Unfortunately, that can be the deep down underlying attitude, so what. So what does it mean to live isolated in a rural community because you live on your land your family has owned but 35% of your income is being spent on gas or transportation? So what does it mean that your un-insulated house drives your power bills to $300-$400/month. So what when you only have $500-$700 a month but a tree falls on your roof and the contractor takes your money and does not repair it? So what if you can barely walk and need a ramp but Medicaid will only cover the cost of your wheelchair-not a physical structure to your home? So what if you lose hope, try to trust your neighbors and just continue to put out the pots and pans to catch rain and stuff plastic or newspaper into the cracks along your windows and doors….so what.
But there can be a difference? So what happens when we take notice and say I can help? So what happens when we work together to repair a home that might cost a family $2000 but we give our time and a donation that when put together covers the cost? So, what happens when we treat our neighbor like our self? Well the so what is that we do care and the Kingdom of God breaks forth. In Matthew 25, the parable of the sheep and goats, Jesus gives a specific teaching that is scary if not heeded. Bottom line, we are judged on our response to human need. We can shrug our shoulders and say “so what” when we see someone hungry, thirsty, and needing shelter -and have a serious penalty for our unkindness. Or we can say, “so what can I do” as we see and respond as if we were serving Jesus-for we are. So…get out there and say, So what can I do? You’ll be serving Jesus as you do! Blessings!