There are broken people everywhere. Truth be told, you and I have been broken through disappointment and hurt. When allowed, God can do His most meaningful transformative work through grace and mercy, and He will shoulder the burdens when we give them to Him.
Recently, Life Church provided Thanksgiving meals to 625 families who expressed gratefulness. Behind their smiles, they are carrying diagnosis of cancer, homelessness, loss of employment, loss of a child, the breaking-up of marriages, domestic violence, and unplanned pregnancies. This one meal has now opened the door for us to begin doing life together, for us to begin reflecting the hope of Jesus in the darkness of the unknown. He is the gift that keeps on giving. We are absolutely living out Matthew 25 by providing food to our community.
But it has to go deeper than one meal. The authors Steve Corbett and Brian Flickert of When Helping Hurts says, “poverty isn’t about the lack of material things, but the lack of relationship.” Relationship is beyond the initial touch. We are called to invest our time and energy to those around us. Understand, Holy Spirit is not just for our benefit, but for those around us.
As we begin relationships with the hurting, our work isn’t to live life for those in need or replace missing material things. It starts with friendship, meeting them where they are and listening to Holy Spirit to guide our next steps. Ultimately, it is their decision on which path they take; in the end, they answer to God for their choices. But for us, can you imagine standing before Jesus, waiting to hear your “well done,” only to find out you missed the opportunity to help someone? Or learning that your neighbor, coworker or classmate was grappling with challenges in their life, and you never moved past “how are you doing” into a real relationship? My heart would sink if Jesus said, “I saw your dedication of reading and praying, but you never helped anyone but yourself.” I would be crushed. We were never meant to do life alone without God or without community.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, start by listening to your heart. If someone is sitting next to you, quit playing Angry Birds, checking Facebook, and texting. Look that person in the eye, and really ask how their day is going. Ask Holy Spirit for guidance, and listen to His gentle promptings. Invest. It will be well worth it.
Prayer: Lord, help me to see the unseen. Let me look past the clothes people wear, their attitudes and nonchalance and meanness. Help me to see what You see in them, their potential, their worth to You and how much You love them. Holy Spirit, guide me as I build these relationships. Use the hurts and disappointments that I’ve experienced to give them a hope that is everlasting. Help me show them who You are and how they can depend on your love to sustain them at this moment. Guide the words of my mouth and the actions of my heart to glorify You.
Thank you, Father, for the story I have to tell. Because I love You, my mistakes and failures can now be used for Your glory. My tears of frustration have not gone unnoticed. Help me to listen with my heart and follow Your promptings. I don’t want to face You and find out I missed opportunities to share Your goodness and grace. I want to be a game-changer for the kingdom of heaven and the vessel that leads people to You, not away from You. I want to share the abundance of what You have given me to others, and I want to love like Jesus loves.
In your precious, Holy name – Amen
Song: Glorious Ruins