embracing the challenge (for “the poor”)

I read this today in a pamphlet called “Establishing A Church-based Welfare-to-Work Mentoring Ministry: A Practical ‘How-To’ Manual”, by Dr. Amy L. Sherman. This particular passage comes from a section titled “Embracing the Challenge: Making the Shift from Commodity-based Benevolence to True Mercy”:

What’s needed is relational, holistic ministry that provides a hand-up to self-sufficiency. Of course, this type of ministry demands much more from us — not necessarily more of our money (though that may be true), but more of ourselves and our time. Commodity-based benevolence allows us to interact with poor people at arm’s length. By contrast, relational, holistic ministry is much less clinical and sterile. As the Church father Gregory of Nyssa said many centuries ago, “Mercy is a voluntary sorrow that joins itself to the suffering of another.” Clearly this kind of mercy requires sharing our lives with the lives of the poor. It involves more than being willing to help the poor; it means being willing to know them.

Sounds a little bit like Jesus, doesn’t it?

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