What would Jesus do if given the choice between helping the homeless or transcribing vital statistics from digital images to text on a computer? Believe it or not recently I was personally confronted with this exact dilemma. I had to choose between two good things I could spend my time doing. Here is what happened:
A couple of weeks ago I helped someone at the LDS church (or mormon church) with a presentation on Family History. The LDS church is embarking on an ambitious project to digitize vast numbers of census and vital statistics documents in their archives to make them more accessible to people doing genealogical research. When the project is complete it will be a wonderful resource for both genealogists and academic researchers. The church is encouraging as many of its members as possible to participate in this project.
The following day I read in our local newspaper that homeless shelters in the city were looking for volunteers (look to the end of the article I linked to to find out how to volunteer to help the homeless in Victoria, BC, Canada) to help out in order to make more beds available for homeless people as winter approaches.
I couldn’t help but think back to a title of a talk given by one of the leaders of the church, who said that as we look the things we do in our daily lives, to make sure we are not just settling for the “good”, but look for the “best” things that will do the most good. So what would Jesus do? Anyone who is familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan will know that Jesus would most certainly help the homeless person. While digitizing historical records is a good thing to do, helping someone who is homeless is undoubtedly a better use of my precious time.
I’ve now signed up to help out at emergency shelters that are opened in extremely cold weather (cold for Victoria at least). I’ll post something after my first night volunteering to let you know how it went.
photo credit: james_at_middleage
photo url: http://flickr.com/photos/72892823@N00/163320882/