A Challenge For The Changed

Gwen Smith Blog 18 Comments


After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go. He told them “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest field.
(Luke 10:1-2)

I had been reading through the book of Luke and freshly looking at how Jesus interacted with people. How he responded to their interruptions. How he reacted to their pain. How he met their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.

Jesus was quite the man of action.

When people encountered Jesus they were changed and challenged, healed and helped. They longed for His presence in each town and looked for His purpose in each teaching.

Jesus fed the hungry, healed the diseased and paralyzed, ate with sinners, cared for the children, and just plain showed compassion in crazy-practical ways. What an amazing picture of love. A perfect picture of love. Perfect love: Jesus.

As I observed Him in action, a few things became clear…

Perfect love cares.

Perfect love makes time for the interruptions of life.

Perfect love meets the physical needs of others.

Perfect love shows compassion to souls that are darkened by despair.

You and I are called to respond these ways as well, because we are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves.

The translation of the word Christian is “Christ follower.” I’m a Christian woman. I trust in Jesus and love Him with all my heart and soul. He has forgiven me of much. Even so, I have to reflect and wonder … how active is my faith? Are those around me surprised by the love I show? Am I a work-horse for Jesus? Am I ministering to my community through service? Am I sharing the hope of Christ with those who are lost or hurting, and am I looking for opportunities to bless others in practical ways?

Those are some seriously challenging questions because this perfect love thing is totally hard!

The challenge flies in the face of my natural compulsion to be self-absorbed. It contradicts everything that Hollywood would try to sell us as “the IT life.” It is political, yet non-partisan. It sears past policies to flesh and blood. It touches and feels. Perfect love is not based on socio-economics, race, religion or denomination.

I’m compelled by these demonstrated actions of Christ and am challenged to become more pro-active in social God-causes.

I want to be more of a Christ-follower with my actions … not just with my words … and not just within the body of Christ.

You too?

Several years ago while my heart was swirling in the depth of this, our neighborhood was having one of those blow-out, everybody’s-doing-it garage sales. With this new call to action burning in my belly, I rallied my gang (husband, kids and puppy) to set up a water/soda stand to raise some money for a local charity. While that may sound noble and exciting, I assure you, it was a total battle. My precious little suburban kids fought me the whole way to the curb and tested my love-o-meter to the max.

Quite frankly, I wanted to fold up my card table, put away the signs that I had painstakingly made of poster board and marker, write a personal check to the charity and call it a day. (They still would’ve gotten their money and I would’ve had less stress for a few hours.) But in my frustration I felt God nudge my heart, reminding me that in order to reach people for Jesus I needed to serve others. And that it isn’t always comfortable or convenient.

Now, I’m not sure that it would’ve been sinful-wrong not to proceed with our fund raiser when the grumbles came … but I am absolutely sure that we would’ve missed out on some tremendous lessons and blessings that God allowed as a result of our actions.

HERE ARE A FEW OF THE LESSONS LEARNED:

#1. Our time is a treasure and we are responsible to spend it wisely. (We don’t need to be money-rich to give to others or to the LORD.)

#2. When we invest our time in blessing and helping others, God is glorified and the dividends boomerang back to bless us.

#3. Our children learn giving and serving when we lead and model it.

#4. $172 can be raised in a few short hours to help local homeless children by selling water and soda!! {Yeah!}

#5. Comfortable Christian children need to experience life beyond themselves more often!

#6. Comfortable Christian adults need to experience life beyond themselves more often … so that the world around us can SEE the love of Christ through our ACTIONS.

Let’s ask the Lord of the harvest to open our eyes to daily opportunities that will bring Him glory and bless others.

 

Heavenly Father, Thank you for demonstrating that perfect love serves. Thank you for reminding me that I am called to be an active harvester for you. Please equip me for the task. Help me to reflect Your perfect love. Help me to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment by meeting both the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of hurting people in my community and around the world.

In Jesus’s Name I pray,
Amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

Consider what you are currently doing to serve God. Does your service extend beyond the body of Christ to the un-churched, unhealthy and underprivileged in your community?

Take a moment to pray and seek God’s leading as you consider new ways to show His love. Plan something! Here are a few suggestions…

CALL the local retirement community to seek how you can help out.

CHECK with a homeless shelter and inquire about their needs.

VOLUNTEER for your local Food Pantry.

BABYSIT for a single mom at your church.

CARE FOR a widow… adopt an orphan – or even a college student!

SPONSOR a child through Compassion International to connect a child living in poverty with medical check-ups, nutritious food, health and hygiene training, educational assistance, mentoring, and an opportunity for your sponsored child to hear about Jesus Christ an be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God.

Got a great idea? I’d love to hear about it. Click here to share your thoughts on the wall of my blog.

Expectantly,

GWEN

 

PSST! If today’s post encouraged and/or challenged you, consider sharing it! Click one of the cute little social media buttons and move the message forward! Please and thank you!

 

Comments 18

  1. Our church has started a note writing campaign as an adjunct to the nursing home ministry. It is called Touch A Heart With A Word. For those not inclined or who don’t have the time to visit face to face, it’s a great way to reach those that feel alone and abandoned. All it takes is a card or a piece of paper and a pen to provide words of comfort, words of love, words of encouragement, and especially words from Scripture. We then take the notes to the facilities we visit, but they can be dropped off anywhere….assisted living facilities, hospitals, rehab centers, or even to an elderly and/or infirm person right in your own neighborhood. Together we can reach many people when we commit to an ongoing ministry of love through words.

  2. My children and I were downtown on Sunday and noticed so many homeless ccpeople with out socks and it was hot so we are making gift bags with socks, water bottles, toothpaste and toothbrushes deodorant for them and will distribute them out on Friday. This devotion was verified that God not only put it in my heart to do it but it should be done now and not just a thought in my head.

  3. My grand daughter loves to dance and I ran across a dance group in my neighborhood, doing a fundraiser project to go on a dance challenge trip. I’m going to see if I can help them to get organized and get a studio, it’s for under previlage children, that love to dance and can’t afford to go to dance school. I’m gonna talk to some people I know that can help to show them how to go about getting grants, and volunteer some of my time. If it’s God’s will, it will happen keep me in that in prayer.

  4. I know this might not be the most unique way but I’ve been pushing myself to go beyond myself with the single elderly. To go beyond being nice but to be a friend by taking them somewhere they need to go, calling them and letting them talk, listening to their issue. Making it a point to value them and let them feel valued in their loneliness.

  5. The foundation I am working on helping is called Mcshin foundation. I have yet to figure out how to help but I know I’ve been called to do something.

  6. Make application to your VA Hospitals to visit Veterans…those who have sacrificed so much.
    I am about to begin visiting in the Fall.
    God Bless!

  7. Sadly we have a huge opioid addiction in our community. I feel I have been called to work with the women who are in recovery. It’s a messy subject but we are called to be the light. These ladies need to know who they are in Christ and the freedom there is with Jesus.

  8. The church I attend, is giving free back to school haircuts. God laid itvon my heart to do this and the idea was very welcomed. We will be doing yhis July 31st, I am so excited..!!

  9. I plan to fill zip lock bags with a pair of socks, a bar of soap, a bottle of water, a granola bar and a scripture message to hand out to homeless peddlers at stoplights in my community.

  10. I volunteer in different places and I am also a church usher. Since I ‘ve retired, I’m needed to usher at funerals through the week because others are working. Although the situation is not pleasant, it’s a reality and those who are grieving need to know others care.

  11. We joined a local service organization called Guided by Light which is a parent-child service organization. I don’t have to come up with the ideas, I just have to sign up and I take my young children to serve with me. Sometimes it is as simple as handing out leftover Halloween candy in a bag with a love note on it at a local Goodwill store to spread Gods love. Other times, we make silk flower arrangements as a gift in a retirement home for the women. It feels so good to show my kids the gift of serving. #guidedbylight #shineliketheson #angelsintraining

  12. Encourage People & parents with children which are overweight to exercise and loose weight ! Healthier weight , healthier life style , as we are told in the Bible that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit & that we are bought with a price .. The precious blood of Christ
    X

  13. Wow God is amazing just by this devotion! Omg this weekend was my 1st time volunteering for people with the same disease as me. My husband and I both volunteered, I have been praying for my purpose and how I can touch people’s lives. Well we found our passion this weekend. Helping and living on other families no matter the circumstances. We want to start an organization to love on families going through hardship. Nothing made me feel more Of Jesus’ presence more by giving love to other hurting people. My husband has a passion to help others now! I have Never felt the joy I felt by loving others I felt Jesus all weekend. I want to feel that euphoric feeling for the rest of my life! We want to start an organization just like that now ❤️

  14. I try to look for people wherever I go that look stressed, sad or just alone…I go and strike up a conversation and after a few niceties, I tell them that I noticed that they may be a little down and would they mind if I prayed with them a moment…I’ve yet to be turned down and some have even come to church with me. It’s such a blessing to me & God always knows exactly who to send me to 🙂

  15. I volunteer with Child Evangelism Fellowship. We hold Good News Clubs in public schools after school. We reach boys and girls with the love of Jesus through Bible lessons, memory verses,games and snacks. A lot of these children have never heard the gospel before. It is such a blessing to be a part of this!

  16. Contact a local VFW and ask how you can help. There is a VA hospital not too far from us, and the VFW personally delivers handmade cards to the patients there that school children and scouting organizations have made. My father is part of the VFW that delivers the cards. He said there is never a dry eye when these patients receive a card. They feel the love.

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