55,000 volunteers of all shapes and sizes were on the streets of Brisbane last Saturday to help people they had probably never met before. It caused traffic jams across a city where dozens of roads were closed by the flooding…but there was no road rage to be seen. The city was inspired to ‘love their neighbour’; camaraderie and mateship prevailed.
Since the weekend, we have been amazed at the generosity of people as they give up a day to help with the big clean-up campaign. Those unable to go to work have joined the teams and stand side-by-side with pensioners, tourists and anyone who can spare the time.
Next weekend will be another massive citywide effort. Yet, as the weeks go by, it may be a little harder to get so many people out onto the streets. Already people realise that even one day wading through mud, dirt and carrying heavy furniture is a really tough days work – draining, not only on the muscles you didn’t know you had, but on the mind and even the spirit as we all take in the enormity of the human suffering.
Bible wisdom says: ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
Here are a few practical pointers to help us avoid becoming weary in doing good.
1. Plan proactively, not reactively.
The first stage after a natural disaster is an emergency stage where we react and respond with immediacy and without forethought. We are happy to throw ourselves in to help people, but this ‘reactive help’ has to be replaced by proactive help. You must work out how much time you can invest and where this is going to be most effective.
2. Be realistic, not naïve.
We tell our Street Teams not to try to resolve every problem – they can’t and they are not expected to. Let the council and the army; the qualified electricians and tradies do what they need to do, let’s be realistic and provide the hands needed to do the work where many hands are needed.
3. Under promise, and over-deliver.
Compassion and zeal are found in abundance in good people. However, without the necessary wisdom it becomes unharnessed. Don’t make promises you are not sure you will be able to keep and certainly don’t make commitments for others that they have not committed to themselves!
4. Plan for the long-term and not the short-term alone.
We already know that the clean-up itself will take a long time and the rebuilding stage even longer. Have you ever watched children in their first long-distance race, no matter how many times you tell them, they all start running as if it is a sprint only to find out very soon that there is still a long way to go…
5. Be fuelled by God’s love, not human effort.
The car will not drive forever on one tank of petrol. The car, like you and me needs re-fuelling. I have worked many hours during this crisis but I felt so energised on Sunday morning after worshipping my lungs out at church, it did me so much good. I have thoroughly enjoyed a time or two each day with a Bible open, talking to God and letting Him illuminate things to me. It has given me fuel for myself and armed with what to say and how to lead people.
We are not looking for martyrs we are looking for people who work smart. That’s what I tell the team here and that’s how I would encourage you wherever you are… Develop a routine that can sustain serving God AND serving people as a way of life…
For more information on Hillsong CityCare and how you can get involved please visit citycare.hillsong.com