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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dumpster-diving for Jesus

by Brandt Russo
As I walked into Barnes and Noble last summer, I knew what book I was looking for. In and out was my plan. It was a Christian book that had something to do with revolution. How many Christian-themed books could possibly have the word "revolution" in their title? About every other one, in case you were curious!

I still don't remember which book I was supposed to buy, but The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne was the one I stuck with. As I sat at work for the next couple of weeks, my spirit was more alive then I felt it had ever been…

I opened up to Matthew [and was lead to] countless references to Jesus spending time with the poor, the outcasts, the "least of these." He said that if you do anything to the least of these, that you do it unto Him. If you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, minister to the needs of the sick - heck, minister to the needs of anyone in need, true need, that it's really him you are ministering to.

Could this be possible? Could we have missed it? I have heard countless sermons before but nothing this ridiculous...

Jesus requires 100% devotion from His disciples, and for some reason, despite the horrible things that continue to happen to them throughout the New Testament, they remain so full of joy. Naturally, they seemed to lack everything but gain eternity in the process.

I wanted that. I wanted to find out if this Jesus is practical. If Jesus still challenges His "disciples" to give up everything... If the church of Acts ended poverty... Is it possible that we, too, can end poverty? It didn't matter how much money I was making; I was miserable. I saw a church in ruins, and a world in even worse ruin. I felt God calling me, just like the rich young ruler, to sell everything, give to the poor, and to follow... and I did without trying to look back.

I bought the wrong book that got me interested in the right book (yes, that was a cheesy Bible joke), that changed my life forever. Jesus wrecked me, and six months later, I'm still trying to pick up all the pieces. I know this isn't the popular doctrine, but Jesus really meant what He said, about all of it. About preferring others above ourselves, about us being provided for so that we could provide for others, the widows, the orphans, all of that.

Brandt Russo is 23 and a native of southern Louisiana. He lives on the streets dumpstering food, feeding the homeless and shares with local church people how to help the homeless.
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