An early morning greeted us as we braved the snow packed Northway to take our daughter, Naomi, to the Albany International Airport for her flight to Canada. After our good-byes, we headed north again and stopped at our favorite coffee bistro to enjoy a hot, delicious beverage. While there, we remembered that we had a poster announcing our upcoming Easter Egg-stravaganza on April 7th and decided to ask the operator if we could place the poster in a prominent place. As we explained what the event was about, it became obvious that the woman was waiting to hear something that would qualify our poster for display. Rosalie carefully explained, “We’re not charging for this event but rather inviting people to bring a canned food donation to support our local food pantry.” Those words were the key that unlocked a favored place with the other posters on display.
People all over our region are quite aware that many groups exist only to benefit themselves and their pet fundraisers. Too little do we hear of groups like Vantage Pointe who really only care about helping others and not making a quick greenback to fund a sunny, winter vacation in the south.
Jesus met a man who sought to justify his soul’s eternal destiny by claiming to keep the rules of the Judaic religion. Jesus stared through his creed and called, instead, for a clear demonstration of the impact his relationship with God was making on his community. After a litany of fine claims, Jesus poked, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (read Luke 18 18-27 for context)
One of the core understandings of Vantage Pointe is that people in our region don’t really give a hoot about our worship, our preaching, or our programs if they don’t first see a clear commitment that serves others more than ourselves. Our DNA demands a deep engagement with our culture. And following Jesus, for us, means surrendering to the higher calling of caring for others first. Jesus’ words to his disciples on the subject inspire us as we wrestle with the implications, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18: 27 NIV)