It has been a season of humbling recognition for Topeka Rescue Mission and we are grateful; recognition calling us out as the “best.” TRM Ministries has been recognized locally and nationally for the innovative way we approach those we serve and our role in the community. God has given all of us here at TRM the amazing opportunity to serve those who find themselves in very difficult circumstances. With this gift comes the responsibility to always, with God’s help, do the very best we can to serve those who are in need. So, receiving these awards caused us to pause and ask “What does it mean to be the ‘best’ or do our ‘best’?”
We see inconceivable brokenness and hopelessness every day. Despite this, we believe the Lord has blessed us with the responsibility, ideas and resources to glorify Him by serving those around us in the very best ways we can by daily doing our best.
I am reminded of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 where the master said to his servants “I am going to go away for a while. To this one I am going to give five talents, to this one I am going to give two and to this one I am going to give one. I will be back – take care of what I have entrusted to you.”
So, the one that had five, invested it and he had ten when the master got back. The one who had two had doubled his and had four. To the one who was given one, he didn’t do anything with it because he was afraid of his harsh master. So, the master said to the one who received five, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” To the one who doubled his two talents he said, “Well done.” To the one who took the one talent, just the one, and didn’t do anything with it at all – he had less to lose, he had less risk, but didn’t do anything with it – the master said, “You are not worthy to be a part of the company anymore; you’re banned to outer darkness.”
Those are pretty harsh words, but the bridge to TRM is that the master gave the talents according to each one’s ability. That says a lot. The master in our case is the Creator of all. He made each one, so he knows what they are able to do. And He knows what we are able to do and not do.
Are we honoring the Lord in the best way we can? Wisely investing our “talents” isn’t about how we compare to other organizations either locally or across the country. It isn’t about receiving a plaque. It’s really about helping those we serve to feel safe and well cared for, the best we can. It’s about acknowledging that they are also doing the best they can. It’s about being the best reflection of our Lord we can be.
While working to do our “best” there are many challenges. At the urging of the Lord, and the ongoing needs in the community, our ministry has grown. We responded to His call and transitioned into transformational community stabilization work, NET Reach. We began addressing the need to reach the youth of our community and expanded the ministry of Doxazo. The Lord placed on our hearts to care for the littlest in our community, thus the Children’s Palace began. Education and mentoring programs sprang forth. The human trafficking concern was expanding, so our response was Restore Hope and Freedom Now USA. All these works are “talents” our master and creator entrusted to us. Our response was to do our very best.
I think when you look around and see staff who have been here for years and years, and then see newer folks who have joined the team, you see people who want to be on God’s journey; people who want to do their very best and honor Him. We have not played it safe. We haven’t been content with taking the easy road. We could be “just” the shelter, the food and the clothes. But God entrusted us with a vision to do “more” and we trusted Him to go beyond basic needs and do our best. “Best” is really HEART. What the Rescue Mission has done in relationship to what God’s heart is, is to trust Him without reservations.
So, then “What is God’s best for each of us, what does He want us to be?” In the world, whether you are in business, non-profits, the church, whatever; we measure based on numbers, success stories, on budgets, on number of volunteers, in some rescue missions they measure on conversions for Christ. We measure, measure, measure, but do we really think about the “best” as what God’s best is for us? Do we consider doing our “best” to glorify Him?
We see the “best” every day. We see it in people who are coming into our shelter for a meal. The guy or gal who walks into the Rescue Mission who doesn’t have good teeth, maybe walks with a limp, maybe has brain damage from being a crack baby, maybe has never been able to hold down a job, maybe is addicted to methamphetamine to soothe their pain. If they come into the rescue mission and they are attempting to survive the day; just survive the day, that may be their “best” – the best they can do for that day. So, the best we can do is to help them become their best. We see the best in those who are waking up in a bed in our men’s dormitory or the Hope Center or in someone in one of our programs. They are doing the best they can today, and we stand beside them to help.
You may find yourself in the middle of a struggle. You may be questioning your value or the value you bring to others. God just wants you to focus on doing your best for TODAY. It may be sharing a kind word with someone at work or sharing your resources with TRM, your church or another helping organization. It may be simply offering a smile to a stranger on the street. The “best” isn’t the shiniest thing. It’s a heart condition. The best is what God has equipped us to do and faithfully stepping forward to do our best.
- Barry Feaker is Executive Director of TRM Ministries – trmonline.com