Justice in the Parking Lot

There's this dream I have. I see the church, not just a church but the church, as a place and people that has no more need for programs, presentations, or events. A people that see their lives as mission. A people that carry out the will of God in their cities and beyond when needs arise. A people that are so sensitive and obedient to the spirit of God that they see and feel the needs and in-justice around them. This is the dream and it sounds great, until the rubber hits the road.

I was on my weekly grocery store run at a major store near where I live. I finished up my shopping and was heading back out to my car pushing my full cart. Soon after leaving the front doors, I was approached by a young man with a coffee can in his hand that had a small slot cut into the lid. He approched me with an urgency that told me whether or not I chose to acknowledge him, he was going to tell me what he needed to tell me. He said to me, in a very sobering voice, "sir, my neice recently was hit by a drunk driver while she was walking along the street, we can't afford to bury her, can you help?" I hate to say this, but at that time, I didn't really care. I let him know that I didn't have any cash on hand (which was a lie). He graciously said "thanks" and walked away. About 20 seconds later, while I was loading up my car, 2 teenage girls came up to me with the same story. I let them know that the other guy had already hit me up, so they left. I finished loading my car and was now getting into the driver seat.

At this time, thoughts and feelings of guilt began to run through my head. I realized what they were really asking for was justice, the ability to bury their 7 year old neice who was taken much too early by a man who had made a few bad choices 3 evenings earlier. This was not something I could walk away from and truly call myself and follower of Jesus.

What was even more ironic was that the night before, I had sat down with the volunteer staff from our junior high ministry at our church and talked about the topic of justice and junior high students. We talked about how we can help move them from a life of selfisheness to a life that helps them participate with others in justice initiatives. Which would hopfully lead them into liberally throwing out justice when they see injustice in their everyday lives. This was my chance to lead by example, and I was about to fail.

I sat there in my car knowing that I could give them what was in my wallet, but that wouldn't actually bring about real justice, I needed to go beyond that. Just as I was running through my head, another man approached me with the story of his neice. I got out and said I had noticed everybody in the parking lot. I told him that I was a pastor at a church that was down the road and that I wanted to help so asked him what their plans for the funeral were. He said they were waiting on a quote from a local funeral home but knew it was going to be un-affordable. At that moment I knew what I had to do.

Unfortunatly I didn't have any information cards in my wallet so I began writing my office phone number and address down for him. While doing this I asked him to tell me about his neice. He began to desicribe her in ways that made me realize how much the world was missing out by her not being around any more, and how much I had missed out by not knowing her.

I handed him the information and told him that we had a building and could make a lot of things happen if they would be helpful. He said "thanks" and I reinforced the fact that I would be waiting for his call.

God never ceases to amaze me. I have felt my heart and passions moving toward the area of God's justice in the world over the last few months. I prayed that God would begin to open my eyes to the in-justices that were in front of me so that I could be a part of his holistic mission in the world.

Where do you see in-justice? Where is God looking for you to speak for those who cannot speak? Stand for those who cannot stand? Help those that cannot help themselves?


  1. You have answered the question that you ask yourself most often, "What does the Kingdom of God look like here?"

    More importantly though, you have answered it with actions rather than words.

    Not bad...

  2. Good post man... mad honest. I hate it when I suck at practicing what I preach. there are moments when I would rather get into the car and keep my money in my pocket. But obviously God spoke to you and you were able to address the situation with sincerity and a broken heart towards the injustice of it all. I am seeking for God to help open my eyes to the little injustices that i can address each day. I think this is going to take me taking my eyes off myself more often... and this isn't always fun.

  3. this sucks. not this post, but this truth.
    the truth that we as Christians want to bring about change, but don't open our eyes to see the situations divinely given to us when we ask. that's not a slam on you... this happens every day. maybe we don't ask for more opportunities, but for bigger eyes...