I have found Christians to be giving people. The primary command of Jesus is to share God’s love with the world around us. When we give of ourselves we demonstrate Jesus’ ideal for how the Christian life should be lived. The short but punchy letter of I John says it this way, “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” (3: 17-18). How we act and behave makes all the difference. So often the chuch is accused of too much talk and not enough action. It’s easy to aim criticism at the church and accuse us of hypocrisy if our words and our lives do not measure up. All of us have been guilty of this at some time or another.
We are invited to live Jesus’ words about love. We become the embodiment of love. We are invited by Jesus to give generously. I’m grateful to be part of a church that is so active in its missions ministry, eager to help others. We know the needs of the world around us are great. We’ve seen this recently in the media coverage of hurricanes in Texas and the Southeast, with lives disrupted and communities damaged. I think of how responding with love and a deep concern for God’s world runs throughout our tradition. It is our spiritual DNA. Throughout the Hebrew scriptures there are words and admonitions to not live for just yourself, but to think of the needs of others. For instance, Exodus tells the agrarian Hebrew society, “ When you gather your crops and fail to bring in some of the grain that you have cut, do not go back for it; it is to be left for the foreigners, orphans, and widows (Exodus 24:19-22). In other words, “don’t take everything for yourself. Leave some for those who are hungry.”
I have always found joy by participating and serving in the church’s missions. It is always better when these experiences are intergenerational and the old and the young get to work together. I think when we care and serve, we are pushing back a bit on selfishness in our world and cynicism about the human condition and what our future may hold. As Paul tells the Galatians, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest” (Galatians 6:9). Sunday, we celebrate being a church where mission and service help to reveal God’s love for the world. See you there!
Dave Summers, PhD
602.840.8360, Ext 131