Success v. Faith

It would be wonderful if every week I could fill you in on the outstanding new schools, homes, jobs, and life chances that we celebrated with the poor community of Chicago. Each week snapshot would be filled with movie-making moments of glory and triumph. The success would be endless, the work would be easy, and we could sleep well at night knowing we saved the world.

We all have come to realize at some point that life does not quite work that way. As deeply as we desire to accomplish good deeds in this world, we are not human saviors. It is not our job to save the world, but to love it.

Last week embodied this idea. We have been working with a young teenager who is required to be in school as a condition of his parole. First, we struggled to get him transportation to school. Next, he fought with his fellow students and was threatened with expulsion. The search for a new school resulted in closed doors, mounds of red tape and paperwork, and a widespread scavenger hunt navigating the maze of alternative schools in Chicago for a suitable match. Each day was tallied as another day this young man was not receiving an education. To complicate matters further, our urgency to accomplish this task did not always match his urgency, which delayed the process. Currently, the outcome hangs in the balance.

Sometimes, the work of Brothers and Sisters of Love looks like this: Dragging people out of bed to get them to court on time, knocking on doors repeatedly to get kids community service, or showing up to a hospital or home to find the person of interest missing after they specifically asked for our help. Without the right outlook, this work could easily seem futile and frustrating. However, this is far from true.

In the work of ministry, it is important to define the goal. The goal of the Brothers and Sisters of Love is to love and forgive everyone. It is not our job to “save” or “fix” the situation with this young man or any of our friends of BS/L. It is our job to love everyone as they are so that they feel supported enough to take charge of their own lives. Rather than fixing anything, it matters much more that we remain present and faithful to the community, despite any setbacks, for as long as it takes. If someone gets our support, and then ends up in jail, we visit them. We still love them. If someone tries to get resources for less than holy purposes, we still make sure they have what they need. We still love them. When someone does not show up, we reschedule. We still love them. We have never ended a relationship.

We persevere because one day the Holy Spirit, sent through the conduits of our own persons, will reach and be accepted by those with whom we work. This is when miracles happen, and they will only happen when we all, as members of the Body of Christ, remain faithful to God’s will and work.

In your own ministries and lives, do not measure your value by the outcomes of the task at hand, but rather how faithful you remained to the call of God to love God’s people on Earth.

Mother Teresa once said, “I do not pray for success. I ask for faithfulness.” May we all have the strength to pray for faithfulness and release the need for immediate success as we work for the in-breaking of the Kingdom on Earth.

–Megan Sherrier, BSL

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About Brothers and Sisters of Love

The Mission of Brothers and Sisters of Love is to be a visible sign of Jesus’ Love, Peace, and Presence to the poor in gang-infested neighborhoods in Chicago and to be a bridge between gangs & the poor with the Church. This is done by: 1. Loving everyone 2. Trusting in God 3. Forgiving everyone everything 4. Never being afraid.
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1 Response to Success v. Faith

  1. Cheryl says:

    Megan— so proud of you and the work that you have committed your life to! Will check in regularly for these jewels of love and hope. Cheryl

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