“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward” (Matthew 10:42).
A few years ago, Nick and I decided to take our daughter Catherine on a trip to South Africa. As we were driving through one of the townships, I could see Catherine’s confusion when she saw the children living on the side of the road. She said, “Mummy, why are those girls sleeping on the ground? And how come that boy’s shirt is so dirty and ripped?”
Before I could answer her, she then said, “That girl over there looks very sad. Can we stop and give her one of my dollies to play with?”
As I thought about Catherine’s questions, I was reminded of the purity, innocence and simplicity with which children process situations. The solution was so simple to Catherine that day – and you know what? In many ways, it can be this simple. Imagine what the world would look like if we all considered it our personal responsibility to make a difference in our corner of it.Instead of being daunted by the immense need on the planet, let’s be determined to be part of the solution by helping to change the world, one life at a time. We cannot do everything to alleviate all the pain and injustice on the earth, but we can each do something!
Take a minute to think about your current priorities … what are they?
Many of the conflicts we have, anxieties that we experience and overwhelming feelings we encounter are because we have compartmentalized our lives. We fit Jesus in rather than putting Him first.
We often experience guilt and frustration when we see the needs of the world around us because we do not know how we can fit anything else into our already very full lives. How can we help anyone else, hear their cries or respond to their needs when we are so consumed with ourselves that there is no room for anything or anyone else?
We need to reorder, recalibrate, repent and return to our first love. It’s all an issue of what is first in our lives. When we shift our priorities and our focus, subsequently our actions shift as well, as we seek His kingdom first, He then adds whatever we need. He does not forget our needs, deny them or ignore them. He provides for each and every one. The key to His provision is to put Him first. The amazing truth is that we never come second by putting God first.“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:34-35)
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
“As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified” (John 17:18-19).
There is a certain danger that can increase when we have been involved in church life for a long time. Sometimes we get so involved with our Christian friends and Christian activities that we let go of our relationships with lost people and lose sight of the issues that affect them.
If we are going to reach the lost, we must consciously choose to stay connected to unchurched people. In the same way that you cannot impact a world that you are not in, you cannot influence people with whom you have no relationship.
It is important that we are fully engaged in church life, but we need to remember that church is the place where we go to be trained and equipped to do what God has called us to do. It is where we gather so that we are strengthened for service when we scatter.This mission of God is far too important to leave the missionaries alone. It requires all of us to be witnesses.
“… while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).
In the parable of the prodigal son, the younger of two sons asks for his share of his father’s estate and soon after leaves for a distant country where he squanders his wealth in wild living.
Because of his immaturity and selfishness, the prodigal son made a very bad miscalculation. He thought that a life outside of his father’s house and without the father would be better than a life within the house with his father. He was proved to be tragically wrong, and he knew it. So he headed home.
Despite the fact that the young man had brought great pain to his loved ones, his father did not condemn, reject or ignore him. On the contrary, at the first sight of his son, he ran to embrace him!When a lost person comes home to be reconciled with Jesus, we the church must always have a “Welcome Home” sign ready, the doors wide open and the table prepared with the finest feast. Let’s love and never reject the prodigals.