See the Need
I enjoy serving the church; it is a part of my DNA. My father is a pastor and so, as a little boy, I got up early each Sunday to help get the church ready for service. I would pass out papers, set out doughnuts and even make coffee (if your church coffee tastes horrible make sure that your pastor's seven year old son isn't making it)! I looked forward to every weekend where I could help and spend some quality time working with my dad. Our church was located in a rough part of Seattle. This meant that we had a high level of physical needs walking through the doors each weekend. They were people just like you and I. But they often carried budens that were hard for me to understand. We welcomed kids who did not always get enough food to eat. Adults who had been driven to the streets by their addictions. And teens who were virtually homeless: moving between friends houses because their own homes were unsafe. I learned about the miracles of Jesus in this context. It made sense that Jesus would heal the lame, feed the hungry and associate with sinners. These were the people in our community and it was clear that Jesus could help them.
I grew up with a heart for hurting people; I never want to stop feeling for their pain. This is easier said than done in many parts of our world today. The physical needs in good and bad neighborhoods may seem completely different. But people's spiritual needs are always the same. Dont take got-it-togetherness at face value. We need to feel the needs of others both physically and spiritually. Albert Edward Day speaks of todays attitude towards those in need. He says,
We avoid as much as possible the unpleasant We shun the suffering of others. We shrink from any burdens except those which life itself inescapably thrusts upon us. We seek arduously the wealth and power that will enable us to secure ourselves against the possibility of being involved with another's affliction. Lazarus sometimes makes his way to our door step. We toss him a coin and go on our way. We give our charities but we do not give ourselves. We build our charitable institutions but we do not build ourselves into other's lives.
Are you and avoider or a empathizer? What have you done for someone in pain recently? Have you ever given someone something to eat or drink? Or do you just donate to charities that do? We can show people the love of Jesus in many ways. But there is one expresson of Jesus' love that transforms you in a meaningful way. When you serve others, in the places where they live, you are never the same again.