Wins

put-yourself-in-my-placeEnds.
Some people will rob their mother for the ends.
Rat snitch on one another for the ends.
Sometimes kids get murdered for the ends.
So before we go any further, I want my ends.

— from “Ends,” by Everlast

There’s this song by Everlast which I love, called “Ends.” It’s about the ugly things people will do for money (i.e., “ends”), especially when they’re in a bad situation.

 

 

That song came to mind lately because I was thinking about the phenomenon of wins in life—especially in ministry—and what people do to get them. By a win, I mean a positive result that affirms us in the effort we’ve put forth for something. It didn’t take me long to see that you can change the lyrics of Ends just a little bit and it reflects what we’ll do in ministry to get the results we want.

Wins.
Some people will change their mission for the wins.
Jump ship, sell out their vision for the wins.
Drop those hard luck cases for the wins.
So before we go any further, I want some wins.

When you work with people in desperate need, like Emmaus does, wins can be hard to come by. It’s really tempting to focus just on people who are easier to help.

I see some otherwise great organizations doing this. Many homeless shelters in Chicago, for example, won’t serve people who struggle with mental illness, as our men do, because they’re notoriously difficult to help and that lowers the organizations’ overall success rates. In order to get money from foundations and donors, these places need to keep their success rates high. In order to keep their success rates high, they don’t help some truly desperate people.

Now, “truly desperate people” are the only ones we serve at Emmaus, but we’re not immune to this temptation. Even among our men there are the seriously hard luck cases—men who will take years just to achieve basic stability—and then there are the ones who need just a little help to get themselves over the hump. It’s hard not to want to focus just on that latter group.

Some days, all I want is to see some wins. I don’t want to deal with men who are hard to love or who’ll need years of patient, loving care before they make changes in their lives. I just want someone who can go from “zero to hero” in a year. But that’s not real life, and that’s not what Emmaus does. And, most importantly, that’s not how God has loved me.

Mother Teresa once said that God calls us to faithfulness, not success. When I’m weary and looking for an easier path, it’s important to remember that the only win that matters is the one at the end, when the Master says, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

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Our Mission

To provide Christ-centered support to men seeking to escape survival prostitution and embrace a life of health and wholeness.

 

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Offices & Ministry Center:
Emmaus Ministries
4201 N Troy St
Chicago IL 60618

Financial Contributions:
Emmaus Ministries
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PO Box 431
Wheaton IL 60187-0431

773-334-6063
emmaus@streets.org

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