I visited Oppenheimer Park, a place overgrown with weeds, blanketed in trash, home to hundreds of seagulls and street dwellers, and surrounded by homes tagged with the poorest postal code in Canada. As I stood in that park observing all that I saw, I was overwhelmed. My heart broke for this community. It didn’t matter that I had no idea of how I could possibly solve anything here, I just wanted to right then and there.

This isn’t the first time for me, I have seen and been a part of many broken communities all over the country and I just want to help, I want to be a part of the solution. One friend found it difficult not to ask the question of where God was in all of this, and I know direct that question toward ourselves and how we are being Jesus to these places. But what I struggle with is that I want to help places like Oppenheimer Park, but I honestly would really not want to live there. I thought of my comfortable home in Ontario, my family, my security and the blessings God has given to me so graciously. Then I thought of how we don’t have communities like this one anywhere near my home. In fact, I would have to travel quite a distance to find a place like Oppenheimer Park, which is very challenging for me because I’ve lived in the city and cottage country and I much prefer the countryside. I want to live there, I like it , it’s beautiful, I don’t want to sacrifice that…

Is this yet another test of dropping all I have to follow Christ? Oh man

…So I’m left to ask, do I have to live in the places that I want to change? Or can I just commute from my home of comfort to the places that I want to meet the needs of? Are we called to give our all or nothing and live with those we want to help?
I’m reminded of a friend who decided with his new bride that they wanted to work with inner city teens and adults, but they felt they couldn’t separate their job from their social life. The two needed to be one. So they moved right into the heart of where they wanted to work, living on a rundown street with gangs, drugs and prostitutes. If they wanted to serve God by reaching out to these people, they wanted to immerse their whole lives into it.

I’ve got many passions. I have a heart for the homeless, I have a heart for leadership, and my heart breaks for many people. I am passionate about music, I love being creative, and I love to write my thoughts. God has given me many passions, but am I to chase after all of them? Must I make them all my focus? Is that even possible? Perhaps there is a median between what I’ve been blessed with and what passions I focus on. Maybe I can have a real heart for poverty, but decide that I’m not cut out for being involved with it full-time. Just because I may choose to focus on a different passion, doesn’t mean I have to dismiss my heart’s desire to care about those living in poverty, does it? I can’t do everything, but I can still care about everything, can’t I?

Must I sacrifice what’s comfortable to me? Must I sacrifice a safe home for my wife and children? Must I sacrifice what I’ve always known? Or can I compromise between the passions…and blessings…that God has given me.

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