By: Pastor Chris
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 (NLT)
Jesus was once asked to describe the most important principle of all. In Matthew 22:37-40 His response was, “'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Basically, Jesus summed up the Gospel with two commands: love God and love people. These two principles are the guiding motivators for evangelism. As we love God and love people through our words and deeds, we are spreading the Good News.
So where do we start? Mother Teresa once said, “Love begins by loving the people nearest you.” In most cases, the people closest in proximity are family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. You have been specifically placed in your family, your job, your community and your neighborhood for a reason. The ways in which we love the people around us can be a witness of Christ's love to an unbelieving world.
The easiest place to start is in prayer. Pray for family and friends. Pray for the leaders in your community. Forgive easily. Comfort those who are hurting. Lend a helping hand. These seemingly small acts create larger ripple effects that tell the story of God.
There are also countless ways we can help people we don't know. This, too, puts Christ's love on display. Volunteer to serve a meal at your local rescue mission. Donate clothes to a homeless shelter. Visit someone who's homebound. Offer to drive a widow to a doctor's appointment. Call someone in your church who is lonely.
I have found that when we make ourselves available to Christ to be a witness, He often brings real opportunities to our doorstep. Oftentimes, we have to be intentional, making sure we're aware of the struggles our friends and family are facing.
Regardless, never underestimate small acts of kindness or simple words of encouragement. Looks for ways-big and small-to help the people around you. Trust me, the world is watching; and they will take notice. You may be the only Jesus someone sees.
- Do you have a family member, friend, co-worker or neighbor who is hurting right now? What's one way you can reach out to them this week?
- Is there a need in your community? How can you serve or volunteer in the next month to help fill that need?