Many years ago, I met a young man named Alan Campbell. He had been a gun-toting thug involved in organized crime in Toronto and spent time in prison. His life was a mess and he had been addicted to drugs.
While most of the world would want to write off a criminal like that, Jesus and some of his followers took another view. Alan became a Christ follower himself and had a few good friends and mentors to help him along.
Alan started Refuge Ministries Canada to go to young offenders and equip churches to reach them with the love of God. I have watched his faithfulness over many years as he has served people in trouble with the law. Alan has gathered like-minded people around him to serve in this mission.
There is a beautiful picture in Scripture of how Jesus is toward broken people. It describes how followers of Jesus are to respond to an unjust world.
When Jesus encounters a smouldering wick, I see a person whose life is losing light. They are diminishing into darkness. In the mission of God, Jesus and his followers do not snuff out the remaining light, but cup their hand around the dying flame, pour in lamp oil and nurture the flame back.
A bruised reed is a plant that has been damaged and ready to fall over and die. Jesus and his followers come alongside the bruised and hold them up until their strength is back.
There are many of us who have been inspired like Alan to go intentionally to the poor and marginalized of the world. It is our mission to nurture light in others and stand alongside giving strength. We find our motivation in the words of the lamplighter Jesus who said: