2. "Ask the people you are serving to identify their needs and dreams, rather than assuming you know what they need." From our staff book study of "The Externally Focused Church".
3. "Fikkert makes a compelling point in this chapter that many of us miss: poor people tend to describe their condition in more psychological and social terms. That is, most of us see poverty as lack of food, money, medicine, or housing. The poor talk about their poverty in terms of shame, inferiority, fear, hopelessness, isolation, and voicelessness (53). This has profound implications for how we help the poor. “One of the biggest problems in many poverty-alleviation efforts is that their design and implementation exacerbates the poverty of being of the economically rich–their god-complexes–and the poverty of being of the economically poor–their feelings of inferiority and shame” (65). In other words, when we march in and give the poor the stuff we think they need, we are only making them feel poorer, as they understand poverty." From a book review by Kevin DeYoung of "When Helping Hurts" by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.
So, I am reading the book mentioned in #3 while attending the class mentioned in #1. And the principle mentioned in #2 has been a defining principle as we have shaped our ministry to the school and community we serve. It always amazes me how I can get involved in multiple things and hear the same message being expressed in all of them. Things often "collide" like that for me.
I think what is common to all three of the above statements is that in serving people and loving them as God does, we must slow down and build relationships with them. Get to know THEM. Violating any of the above principles is really about our own expectations. It's about us - our needs, our stuff, our pride, our self-image. In order to really serve and love people we need to work at releasing all of our stuff and move ahead in God's power, seeking His heart and His purpose. When we are able to do this then we truly serve people, we truly love people, we truly serve God's purpose, and God receives the glory due His name.
So much in life for me lately keeps coming back to expectations.