Friday, June 29, 2012

How far?

Rob Farley of Our Daily Bread
How far are we willing to go? Its a great question to ask, in sports, in school or in a career. But it can also be asked when it comes to the Gospel. We often read of people that gave their entire lives to the cause of Christ, Moravians selling themselves into slavery, missionaries selling all to enter a foreign land, or even Mother Theresa.

But how often in life do you get to meet someone like that. I had that very real privilege this past week in our nation's capital. Jack and I went there with a group of middle schoolers from St Davids School in Raleigh on a short term mission project to serve in inner city DC. 
It was there that we met Rob Farley. Rob is a lawyer by trade but serves on a volunteer basis at Capital Hill United Methodist Church not a 1/2 mile from Capital Hill. 

Rob tells the story much better than I but I'll give you the big picture. About 7 years ago Rob was a successful attorney at a very large law firm in DC. He had it all, a career, money, the whole thing. But he said he had a restlessness in his soul. That restlessness was the place that Jesus is designed to rule over. He confesses he never had any need for God, but at that time started attending some churches and found the message of the Gospel at Capital Hill UMC. God began a work in Rob then. 

He left the big law firm and started his own just as Jesus was about to radically change his life. Rob is fit and likes to run and ride his bike. He was also a professional rugby player. On his morning runs through DC he would pass by Capital Hill UMC. One morning he noticed the police rousting a homeless man on the steps of the church. And there the Holy Spirit took over. He couldn't get that off his mind. So he and some friends decided that they would start giving friendly wake up calls to the folks sleeping on the steps. So they did. 

One morning one of the gentlemen asked Rob for a cup of coffee. The words of Matthew 25:35-46 came into clear view. So, Rob made him a cup of coffee. Well... coffee turned into cereal and cereal lead to toast and before long eggs and pancakes were being served. And "Our Daily Bread" was born!

But Rob didn't stop there. He allowed this principle to filter all the way through his life. During a massive snow storm several years ago the homeless had almost no where to go. Many don't like the shelters. So Rob invited 4 of them into his 1 bedroom apartment. It was supposed to be just a few nights, but turned permanent. Some of them are mentally ill too. But Rob opened his home to them. 

Rob saw that his apartment was too small, so he bought a house in a forgotten neighborhood that could be a home to him and 4 other men. And this has continued to this day. Rob gave up full time law work to advocate for his needy friends. He gave up success in the eyes of the world and embraced those that no one embraces. He went all the way in response to the Gospel.

How far are we willing to go?

So now every morning Rob is there to let folks into Capital Hill UMC. He greets them with a smile and a cup of coffee. Others are inspired to help and they do and there is real community. Rob and his team make breakfast for about 30 people every morning.

And we were blessed to help prepare breakfast and enjoy a great time of fellowship with some folks made in the image of God!
Clean up after breakfast at Our Daily Bread with Mr Green, the first man ever to have breakfast at Our Daily Bread!

They read God's word together and pray together. There great affliction and deep joy, deep poverty but great generosity and above all the grace of God is there. 2 COR 8:1-5

I found it odd that in the shadow of the capital where anger is the order of the day, power the greatest desire, that the most powerless in our society experience community and grace and have neither anger nor power.

My son was also struck by how the things that he thought were important suddenly didn't seem that big a deal. Perspective is a beautiful thing. In our group time the other night a very honest 8th grader confessed, "We are spoiled". That was echoed around the room as God was showing these precious young people where true value lies. 

Many Thanks to you Rob for taking the Gospel so seriously that it changed everything about your life. 

May your example be the norm rather than the exception in our world!

The songs of life- Thanks to mom

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