The fourth president of the United States, James Madison once said, “If men were angels, we wouldn’t need government.” Unfortunately, we aren’t angels and we do need government. Human beings require a system of rules and laws to govern us and provide order. All too often these “rules” come with restrictions that interfere with other rules, are complicated, lack common sense and frequently are barriers to real solutions. Often the quick answer to complex problems results in, “that can’t be done, or we don’t do it that way,” or simply the word...“NO!”
Many of those, who live here in Topeka Ks, suffer from poverty, homelessness, a lack of food or a variety of other challenges, often hear the word “no” repeated constantly throughout their lives. “No, you’re not smart enough.” “No, you don’t have the right kind of education.” “No, you grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.” “No, we don’t do it that way!” They may hear, “You’re poor, addicted, unattractive, mentally unstable, slow, lazy, stupid” or any number of other unkind hurtful labels. Some will wear those labels throughout their lives. Then, on top of a lifetime of negativity, people living on the margins are consistently hearing “NO” or “NO we can’t help you,” from those in a position to serve.
Ever wonder why some people become so desperate they turn to crime, unhealthy relationships, gangs, or drugs and alcohol to soothe the pain? Maybe it’s because they have come to believe there is NO hope!
In the first book of the Bible, in the first chapter, verse 28, we read ...
“Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” Genesis 1:28 NLT
There’s that word government or govern again. The word govern here means to subdue or bring order to. You might ask, why would any order or subduing be needed in the perfect paradise?
Apparently even in perfection, the Godhead created an opportunity for man to further develop His beautiful system into something even greater. God gave man a mission. But even in the midst of this Garden of Eden, there was one piece of this paradise that God emphatically said NO to! NO touching, eating or even being associated with the forbidden food that hung from the tree. Unfortunately for all of us, the first man and woman failed to adhere to God’s warning, thus banning themselves and all future generations from that perfect paradise. Failing to follow God’s orders led to the man and woman finding themselves on the outside of perfection and fully immersed into a broken, cursed world. I can only imagine what that first mosquito bite would have felt like, that first head cold, the first realization that now they must subdue or govern a totally imperfect world. The same imperfect world you and I live in today. I imagine they were tempted to walk in continual fear of, “don’t touch that, don’t go there, don’t eat that.....”. This imperfect world, a world filled with “no’s” and “don’ts” wasn’t going to feed them, clothe them, shelter them, educate them, bring advancements in their needs to survive, or in their need for faith in Christ. What’s also worth noting is even though they were no longer in paradise, God’s command to subdue or govern the world they now lived in, remained intact. In fact, without the perfection of the Garden, the need to bring order was even greater. They desperately needed solutions.
While we live in the most advanced civilization since that perfect paradise was lost, we continue to face wars, immense hunger, poverty, desperation and hopelessness. People right here in Topeka Ks are still desperately in need of solutions. Still in need of community, still in need of local support. Many question if we will ever find a solution to the explosion of homelessness in America, or a solution to the over five-decade failed war on poverty. When will there be a solution to the staggering increase in the number of children in need of care right here in Kansas? What about the realization that human trafficking, which is modern-day slavery, exists within communities throughout this “free” nation? What are we to do?
The ministry of the Topeka Rescue Mission enters its 66th year in 2019. Thousands have sought solutions to their homelessness, hunger, addictions, and hopelessness here. TRM's local ministry is based on the gospel, and has attempted to be there for all, working 24/7 to help provide support to the many homeless men and women. The rescue mission is dedicated to finding solutions for the homeless. That said, throughout all these years we find ourselves in continual need to create and improve the necessary service structure to run a safe and smooth operation. Unfortunately, in an effort to prevent conflict or compromise safety, our structure and “rules” can become the “NO’s” desperate people hear so often. Even a ministry dedicated to finding solutions and sharing God’s love can fall into the trap of becoming a ministry of NO. That’s not our heart’s intention, nor how our Lord called us to provide for the homeless. That’s why I’m excited to announce that beginning this year TRM's ministries will intentionality embrace our God-given direction to bring His love to those in need by becoming a ministry of YES. By providing on solutions, the Topeka Rescue Mission significantly improves our assignment of sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, equipping and educating the children and adults, bringing stability to impoverished neighborhoods and to rescue those trapped in human trafficking worldwide.
With God’s heart in mind and with His help, the rescue mission’s purpose is to be solution finders. It’s certainly easier to just do what we can to get through the difficulties of the day by establishing needed order, but we believe God is calling us to go beyond the normal and strive to be people of solutions. TRM Ministries’ 2019 goal is to develop the Ministry of YES, ministry-wide. Equipping staff, volunteers and guests to embrace the YES, which means ...
Men and women, servants all, looking for creative ways to find solutions to a multiplicity of needs.
Will this be easy? Absolutely not! Rewarding and life-changing? Without a doubt!
Think about this possibility. A group of YES people working to reduce the number of homeless kids attending our schools in Topeka and Shawnee County like they did in Wyandotte County. A group of YES people using a collective impact model consisting of many individuals and organizations aligned and working together to find shelter, housing, and resources to help these kids and their families break free from homelessness. The key to this success is to find people and organizations willing to say YES. YES, we will find a solution! The word NO is not an option. Isn’t it time we stepped out in faith believing God is all about solutions? Didn’t God Himself find a solution to our sin by freely giving us His only Son Jesus to take away our sins? What if God said, “just can’t do that one”? We would truly be without hope. But God didn’t say NO. He exemplified the solution to our need, whatever it cost.
Can you imagine a community of churches coming together, becoming churches of YES? How about social service agencies, educators, law enforcement, the courts, legislators, emergency services, utility companies, financial institutions, all taking the risk to become organizations of YES?
How can Topeka and Kansas become a city and a state of YES?
“YOU EXEMPLIFY SOLUTIONS”
Simply by individuals and groups coming together with one goal in mind.
Find a solution!
If you see yourself as a person, willing to look beyond the status quo, beyond your individual abilities and desiring to trust God to show us His solutions; and if you are willing to put your ALL into working alongside other YES people and realize you can’t come to the table with a “NO, sorry we can’t”; then begin to pray for God’s direction for how He wants you to become involved. Pray for the Ministry of YES to become a reality at TRM and beyond. Let’s bring the hope and excitement of change to those in need. Let’s find solutions never found before. Let’s subdue the word NO and together, become people of YES! †