(August 27, 2019) Carol Round encourages us to let our Christianity shine forth in a needy world round us…
In one of the ‘civil’ social media posts, I responded with the challenge that we need more Christ-followers who reach out to the –
- Mentally ill.
Warming a pew each Sunday doesn’t make you a Christian
Jesus left the building (the church) and spent time with the very people mentioned above. If we claim to be a Christian, we need to be following in his footsteps. Kindness begets kindness. Apathy breeds apathy. Hate breeds hate.
Each one of us can make a difference, one person at a time.
Reach out – make a difference
New Testament scholar Scot McKnight says, ‘Those who aren’t following Jesus aren’t his followers. It’s that simple. Followers follow, and those who don’t follow aren’t followers. To follow Jesus means to follow Jesus into a society where justice rules, where love shapes everything. To follow Jesus means to take up his dream and work for it.’
1. Being a Christ-follower requires work
Throughout the gospels, we read over and over about Jesus calling out to people with two simple words, ‘Follow me!’ Recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke, there is one instance when Jesus describes in more detail what it actually means to follow him.
He says, ‘If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me’ (Luke 9:23).
Being a Christ-follower means we will be required to step out of our comfort zones, serving those who are different from us. It means embracing those whom we might fear – those of a different ethnicity, religious, or social background. Following Jesus means we emulate him.
2. Emulating Christ means sacrifice
Most of us find it difficult to sacrifice ourselves or our time for those we don’t know. This doesn’t mean we have to sell everything and become a missionary. We can be a light to those around us but it requires us to be aware of others.
In John 8:12NRSV we read this: ‘Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life”.’
3. Some easy and practical ways to shine the light of Jesus
- Instead of treating grocery checkers as servants, address them by name and wish them a great day.
- Offer a smile and a greeting to everyone you meet.
- If you see a homeless person, buy him a meal.
- Carry a bag of necessities in your vehicle to give away.
- Offer encouragement to someone who seems down.
- Learn patience while driving in traffic.
- Instead of cutting in line, let the other driver go first.
- Offer a smile instead of a gesture that offends.
- Volunteer at your church, a homeless shelter, a food bank, a pregnancy centre, a thrift store that supports a ministry… any place relying on volunteers.
- Thank veterans in public for their service.
- Use your talents to help others. For example: teach computer skills or a sewing class; join a group that works together to improve the world.
- Include others around you who may feel left out or who don’t fit in.
This list is just a beginning. What else can you do to be a light? Pray, asking God to show you how to be a light in this broken world.
Carol Round, special correspondent with Dan Wooding’s Assist News Service (www.assistnews.net), follows her passion of using her writing and speaking abilities to inspire others.