Monday, May 10, 2010

Caring Community

I am constantly amazed at how God chooses to show up in my life and the life of the church. It is one thing to know that God is always with us and has promised to never leave or forsake us. It is quite another when God shows up in the everyday mundane aspects of life and reveals himself through individuals who demonstrate his love in such powerful ways.

Lately I have seen God do some great stuff through simple loving acts that people do for one another. From teenagers raking leaves in the yard of an older couple with some health issues, to someone providing grocery money to a family in need, to a woman in the church making chocolate covered strawberries to pass out to all the ladies in our church on Mother’s Day, God uses the small things in life to demonstrate his awesome love.

Jesus said that people will know we are his disciples by our love. When the body of Christ comes together to love one another and love the world around us, we demonstrate the greatest aspect of God: his love. Nothing challenges a skeptic more than unconditional love. Nothing causes a calloused heart to be softened than genuine caring. Nothing makes a jaded spirit more open than unconditional love.

The community of Christ is called to be a community of caring. It is in our actions and our love that God opens avenues of ministry and proclamation of the gospel. It is in our love and devotion to him and one another that God allows us to see his nature expressed in its fullest.

Jesus Christ gave two laws that were designed to help his followers understand life in all of its majesty. In Matthew 22 Jesus told us to love God and love others. When we begin to live our life by those principles, we become the “Caring Community” God intended for us to be. And when we care for the needs of those around us, we open the door to show them that it is not simply kindness, but it is God’s grace and love for us that propels our lives to be devoted to him.

In the last few years the church has been an amazing resource in times of natural and national disaster. After Katrina, churches rallied together to rebuild the Gulf Coast. When tsunamis have destroyed coastal regions around the world, the church has responded. When earthquakes have shaken Haiti and Chile, the church has responded. As Nashville soaks under a deluge of floodwaters, churches are responding. Here is my question: why wait for a disaster?

As followers of Christ, we are called to love and serve every day. We are called to care for the sick, the poor, the widows, and the orphan. That is our calling. And in serving we proclaim the gospel of Jesus. Why are we waiting for the next disaster? Why are we not serving and caring for those who are living the disaster every day in our own communities?

God has called us to care. Look around. There are people who live in disaster. Start out by loving god and then loving them and see what God does in the midst of the caring community.

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