The Dregs of Society and the Dregs of Suffering.
I got to spend some time in Camden, NJ for the first time during the cold weather of the new year. My immediate thought was, “This place is awful. This is nothing more than the dregs of society.” As we preached, a few feet away there were a group of people smoking marijuana. Many people were drugged into a stupefied state, so much that it was impossible to engage them in conversation. Almost everyone who passed by bore the effects of sin in their bodies. Young people looked old; old people look nigh to death. Everyone was smoking something or else looking for something to smoke. These are the kinds of people that most want to avoid or not think about. But they are also of them for which Christ died.
When Jesus was in the garden He prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” What was this cup? It was the cup of sufferings. Jesus had come into the world to fulfill the words of Isaiah, that He would be the Suffering Servant to suffer for the sins of the people. Yet now, at the hour before His sufferings, the reality of what was to come weighed heavy upon Him. In His humanity he cries, “Father! Is there another way?” But if the dregs of society were to be saved, Jesus would have to drink the cup of suffering—all the way down to the dregs. And He did. Jesus suffered for all, even those who are cast off by society. Even for the ‘worst’ of us.
Although it was my first time to Camden, for my friend, Joe Toy, it was not. He’s spent a lot of time in Camden over many years, and it shows. He’s like the pastor of the bus station! I got speak and pray with a few people, but for him it was person after person. People he called by name and asked about situations that he had heard from them before. His consistency there had become a beacon for the people of Camden. They could come to him for encouragement and prayer. It was a neat thing to see. The scripture that comes to me is this:
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” – Matthew 4:16
Even a small light shines brightly in the midst of great darkness! You and I are that light, as Jesus said: “You are the light of the world.
A Mixed Schedule
Due to financial inconsistencies, we have had the opportunity to be creative with providing ourselves with the income that we need. This has definitely been a hardship, but not without a blessing. For almost each of the past six months, we have wondered about the month to come. It’s been quite a walk of faith! I’ve had wonderful opportunities to be anxious, as you could imagine. However, by God’s grace, I have had peace of mind. Each month, God has provided for us one way or another. Some of those ways involve me doing other types of employment. I don’t mind, of course! Over the past month, my wife and I have spent a considerable amount of time buying and selling things on eBay. It’s been a decent source of supplemental income for us. I’ve also been in Florida to work on a house we are trying to sell (and will be there more). Pray with us that this house sells quickly and profitably! It’s sale would be a great financial blessing for us.
With all this said, however, I would rather be spending my time completely focused on doing the ministry work I feel called to. Please pray with me that our finances would be provided for in such a way that would render that possible.
If you are not a partner with us and you’d like to be, we would be grateful to have you come along-side of us. You can give automatically by visiting our giving page on our website: halchaffee.com/partnergive or you are always welcome to give by check. Please make your check out to the address below.
Hal Chaffee Ministries
P.O. Box 1546
Elkton, MD 21922