I was part of an interesting discussion yesterday at church. I’m sure those of you who are Christians probably had interesting discussions as well, but this one was one that led me to my topic for today. It was during Bible class. The purpose of the small groups we had been divided into was to talk about ways we could reach out in Jesus’ name to the community around us. Some traditional ideas were proposed, and it turns out they were proposed in each group which tells you they had been done many times before. That doesn’t mean anything is wrong with them. It just means they had been done before. I won’t mention all of them, but I think it is important to mention two. One idea was to help the widows and orphans in our church. James 1:27 specifically calls for Christians to do so, and a shepherd in our church had been passionate about this before his death earlier this year. The other was to expand upon a project we had done earlier in the year when we had collected food items for a school where one of the members taught. It was suggested that we collect school supplies since it is almost time for school to start.
Now, let me make one thing clear before I go any further. Both of those ideas as well as the others suggested were great ideas. An idea, however, was suggested in our group that takes those thoughts one step further. The idea was to find a family in our church and a family in the community to help on a long-term basis, not just on one specific occasion. Many times Christians feel like if they collect things at Thanksgiving or at Christmas or when school starts, they have done their duty, done what Jesus has called them to do and retreat back into their churches.
But, that’s not what Jesus has called us to do. He has called us to live in community and help each other. Living in community is not something that happens on a one-time basis. It happens on an ongoing basis. It happens when we establish relationships, when we get our hands dirty with something we might not want to do, when we sacrifice ourselves and become the hands and feet of Jesus. For this is what Jesus did. He sacrificed himself during his earthly ministry, not just by his death on the cross although that was most certainly a sacrifice. Now, you might ask how He sacrificed himself. I mean, wasn’t He the Son of God? Of course, He was and is. But, He was also totally human. He got tired; He got irritated; He was familiar with the prejudices of the Jewish people. He helped people anyway though. He fed the 5000; He helped the Samaritan woman; and He came to the disciples during the storm. Many more instances are recorded in Scripture.
Is it possible to do that nowadays though? With the independent spirit that many of us who are Christians have, especially in the United States, it’s hard to knock down the shields we have surrounding us. But, in answer to my question, yes, it is possible. It just takes commitment and purpose. How do I know it is possible? I know because someone invested and continues to invest themselves in my life. This person and many others who have formed relationships with me in the past year are precious to me. I hope I bless them as much as they have blessed me, and my prayer is that I strive to be just like them as I do what Jesus has called me to do by investing myself in other people’s lives.
Philippians 1:3-5 says, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.”
God’s blessings on all of you today!