The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

I love this verse. It reminds me that Christ came so that we can have this full life – both here on earth in this life and in the next. In fact, I think it hurts Him to see His creation not living life to the full here on earth, which makes me contemplate where I’m lacking individually and where we are lacking as a community of believers in exemplifying this “life to the full” to all that we meet.

This week, the IndyStar published a Letter to the Editor that particularly resonated with me. According to a recent Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) report, nearly 3,000 children in Marion County public schools qualify for services for the homeless every day. This isn’t news to us in the Grace community – Jay Height from Shepherd Community Center has been telling us long before this economic crisis began that 80 percent of the children in Shepherd’s neighborhood have two meals a day only when they are in school. I’ve been obsessing this week about what happens to all of those children when they aren’t in school.

While the statistics aren’t as readily available for Hamilton County communities, it is apparent that the need has increased dramatically over the last year by the response that Third Phase, a Grace Frontline Ministry and the largest food pantry in Hamilton County, has received in that time. The food that is collected through the Hamilton County Food Pantry Drive is delivered on Saturday, and it is often all distributed to families in need as soon as the food pantry opens for the week. In fact, Third Phase has been forced to limit the amount of food that each families receives because of the huge increase in demand. The poor in Hamilton County often fly under-the-radar, which is even more concerning because of the lack of resources and services available to low-income families living in the Indianapolis suburbs.

All of this to say that these struggling families could use some help in living the full life that Christ came to deliver them into. Christ uses US to bring His Kingdom here on earth. He tells us that He came so that we may have life and have it to the full. I think, in helping others to meet their basic needs, not only are we helping them to live life to the full, but we have the opportunity to truly experience the life that Christ dreams for us in selflessly giving of ourselves.

The Grace Garden is a beautiful picture of what the Kingdom looks like: we provide real food for families in need, we provide good work for our volunteers, and we provide a model of creation care for the community at large.

Join us out at the Garden as we try to live the full life that Christ came to bring us – or get in the game by helping out with the many local outreach opportunities that Grace offers right here in our own backyard!