The Weight of Mercy by Deb Richardson-Moore

After being a journalist for many years, Ms. Richardson-Moore felt God was leading her in a different direction. She was eager to follow Him and truly serve. She accepted the pastorate of the Triune Mercy Center. Once a grand and thriving church, it was now impoverished and right in the midst of a rundown dangerous area. In addition to church services, they also are a main distribution center of food and clothing for the poor. Either of those alone would be a huge undertaking but she had both.
Having worked with my husband in his ministry the last 25 years I can relate to so many of her experiences, though not to some extremes nor on a daily basis.
She tackles her assignment with excitement and hope, but also some doubt and fear as it is all new territory. She like so many Christians experienced “serving” as going to church, sitting in a comfortable, attractive facility with clean, well-dressed people, singing hymns, putting money in the offering plate, and listening to a sermon. Nothing had prepared her for the real ministry of Jesus that few encounter in a lifetime. Going into the trenches and seeking those deep in the depravity of sin.
I can remember when my husband surrendered to the ministry there was this “Pollyanna” attitude of helping others, not knowing the real cost and all we would see. I saw her grow and be strengthened as we did to love and care for those that society and many Christians reject. When in reality, Christ died for these people the same as everyone. She becomes deeply involved in the lives of drug addicts, alcoholics, thieves, the mentally ill, and the homeless whose lives have been shattered. She hurts with them, questions her ability to carry out this work, and struggles to find answers to help those that are bent on hurting themselves.
I could understand her pain and frustration in wanting to help but not know how. I felt her discouragement of seeing those who had turned their life around, be sucked back into the black hole of sin they had overcome, and wondering what she did wrong.
Through her story, I remembered the discomfort of being confronted with situations and people that were way past anything we could imagine. While her accounts are graphic and raw at times, they are real. Her book gives every Christian a glimpse of what it is like to be on the front lines of Christian service. Experiencing the exhaustion, fear, feelings of inadequacy, and even thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” Most of all her book inspires you to see that no matter what the situation there is always hope in the Lord. Realizing that “the least of these” the Bible speaks of are real, flesh and blood, hurting people with great needs. Also, accepting that while in reaching out to them, we may not be able to fix their problems, but we are still doing God’s work and making a difference.
Her accomplishments, spiritual growth as a person and a leader, and commitment to minister to those many find undesirable is a beautiful testimony. She said she would stay a year but recently celebrated her 7th year there. This book is a must read for all Christians who say they want to serve God. It is an eye-opener.
I received this book from Kregel Publications for my honest review.

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