Mt. Zion Community Outreach
Hickory Flat/Canton Area, GA
Last Saturday my precious hubby, Don, and I volunteered to serve in our church's SALT Ministry and as we were getting ready to go, I sensed God was going to reveal more of WHO HE IS. I was right.
I knew the newly-established SALT Ministry at Mt. Zion Baptist Church was already meeting needs of the poor in many ways and had already become the salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) for which it was established. And I was fully aware of the teachings of Jesus regarding His commands in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to care for the poor and needy. The SALT Ministry seeks to pour out the love and truth of Jesus in a similiar way; preserve lives with the salt in the words of Jesus. His gracious and powerful provisions of food, healing, compassion, grace and salvation are all there in black and white!
For example: Jesus's disciples came to Him after He had been teaching and healing many people all day long, and it was evening and His disciples told Him to send the people home to eat. Jesus told the disciples to feed them. Yes, He fed 5,000 hungry people on a hillside with only "five loaves of bread and two fish" (Matthew 14:16). Then when crowds followed Him and came to Him, He "had compassion on them and healed their sick." (John 14:14)
Again, when people were following Jesus, and they came to Him, He fed 4,000."Great crowds came to Him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute andmany others, and laid them at His feet and He healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel." (Matthew 15:31).
Another time when Jesus was teaching, "a man named Jairus came to Him and fell at His feet, pleading with Him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve was dying." (Luke 8:40) He healed her! And while he was on His way to Jairus' home, "the crowds almost crushed Him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind Him and touched the edge of His cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped." (Luke 8:42-44).
In Luke 12:22, Jesus told His disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens; They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet GOD feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!" This is the message SALT Ministry shares with its guests; that JESUS is the One and Only Provider and Protector. HE is the ONE who will meet every need! He is using the ministry as His spoons and spatulas in His hands to feed the needy. I knew this to be true and I knew the SALT Ministry -- their free monthly dinner called Living Bread, their food pantry; all were part their of their mission to show the community WHO JESUS IS.
Once a month, the SALT Ministry provides their Living Bread ministry of a free, freshly prepared dinner for the community. The meal is completely free for families in need. Families who are not needy are encouraged to bring others who are hungry. In addition, the ministry hosts a community-wide food pantry once a month on a Saturday morning for guests to walk into the Family Life Center, sign in, meet with counselors in order to find out the best way to meet their needs, both physical and spiritual. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is shared and the counselors pray with them. Then the guests can try on coats and other clothing, often choose a toy, baked goods, and recieve bags of groceries.
So, only a week ago, when Don and I had been in the Mt. Zion Family Life Center about 15 minutes that morning, I watched Deborah Rey, the co-director of the SALT Ministry, lead a young woman across the huge, open room to the table of coats and toys. Tears began to well up in me and it was very difficult to stop them, in fact I couldn't. I was so deeply moved by that young woman walking past us, keeping her eyes riveted on the long table of free items from across the room. God seemed to opened my spiritual eyes so I could see that young woman had to humble herself so she could walk into the building to confess to a group of strangers, "I am needy and you are offering to help me. Please help me."
I was richly blessed to be called upon to counsel a few women, too. My life was eternally enriched.
When we left the building, I was not the same. All day long I was very weepy. I was so deeply moved and I kept praying and asking GOD what was going on with me? Then He answered my prayer: all those people who came to the church had to humble themselves to walk in the door and admit they were poor and needy. But when they did come, they were given words of life and hope, provisions of food, clothing, prayers, guidance and even acknowledgements that we would be there for them. That's it! That's the Gospel of Jesus Christ! When we are brought low -- and GOD will do that until we bow the knee -- He changes our hearts and we become willing to humble ourselves and come to HIM to be our LORD. Then the "abundant life" begins. (John 10:10).
"Hear O Lord and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am devoted to You.
For HIS Glory,