Good day Friends! I pray your week and weekend went well in God’s grace and care! Well, as we are in the swing of Christmas preparations, whether Christian or not, the heart of giving and helping those living with less is prevalent. It is beautiful to see! The programs like Operation Christmas Child, and World Vision catalogues are great ways we can help others in other lands. Then there are the missionaries and their families dedicating their lives to serving and loving, teaching and helping others; sharing the love of Christ with others! These are all blessed ways to serve the Lord and others; to love one another and to share the gospel with all nations. However, have you ever thought of yourself as a missionary from your own back door?
Let’s fill up our coffees and let’s ponder this, shall we…
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? James 2:15-16
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:11-12
Have you ever gone on a mission trip to another country? Whether or not you have had the opportunity to experience such a life-changing event, I would like you to consider the purpose of mission trips. Why do people, churches or organizations hold mission trips to other countries? From my experience, mission trips are held in order to accomplish two main things. First of all, the mission is there to physically help those who cannot afford, or have available the item(s) needed, to better their life’s situation. For example, a medical team giving boosters against a deadly disease, or the manpower and materials to assist in rebuilding a community after a devastating natural disaster. The second reason is to share the love and saving grace of Christ. In many cases, this also is the underlying desire that propels people to assist those in need, as stated in the above passage from 1 John.
As I look around my community, I find my home, my workplace, and my city to have become the mission fields. To begin with, we live in a multi-cultural, multi-religion country which has/is becoming home for many individuals that have experienced war and devastation. What a wonderful opportunity to share Christ’s love and to let His light shine through our own love and care for them.
However, even more pronounced is the fact that we also live in societies where, it doesn’t matter where we turn, we are seeing souls affected by war and hatred, pain and despair. In a place where the majority of people live without want, there are homeless souls struggling to survive each day. We have people hurting due to being inflicted with disease, grief, and addictions, just to name a few. News reports of deaths due to addictions and suicide are heard regularly, especially from our young people. There seems to be so much hopelessness in our societies. Therefore, as our societies continue to move towards increased self-dependence and decreased socialization; increased feelings of depression and loneliness, and decreased feelings of worthiness and purpose, souls are feeling the burden of the law and mankind’s innate sinfulness, and they don’t know where to turn. These souls, my dear friends, are the mission field.
As this world becomes darker and darker, Christ’s love will shine even more brightly when it is experienced by those who are in need of it. So I encourage you to go and let your light of Christ shine to those in need in your community and change a life right outside your front door.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please bless the missionaries who give their lives to assist others and to share Your love and salvation to those in far off lands. Give them peace as they work in your harvest field and assured faith in the midst of persecution. Please open my heart and mind to be mindful of the souls in need around me, here in this place, to whom I can serve and be your practical, loving arms and voice of peace and hope. Please be with my congregation that together we can serve those in need in our community, as you have commanded us. In the name and for the sake of my Saviour, Jesus Christ! AMEN!
Reflection: This Advent season, take notice of the real-life, practical needs of those in your community. Are there areas in your community that would cause you to be outside your comfort zone? Are there organizations whose missions are to serve those in need in your community? Do you, or have you ever considered, supporting their efforts for the sake of the gospel, either by volunteering or through financial or food donations? Have you ever sought out souls in need, with purposeful intention, like being prepared to give gift cards or food items to a homeless person or family living in poverty? Have you shared with your (grand)children, such expressions of love to others? Make an effort to pray for God’s guidance, strength and courage to be His light and loving arms to the souls who are around you. Pray for your family and your congregation to be serving disciples amidst your community.