Outreach has always been important to us. I grew up in a home that included two stints as missionaries. My husband and I also served as missionaries for 7 years. I’m familiar with the concept. It’s at the heart of the Gospel starting with Jesus!
But we, personally, haven’t always been good about reaching out into our local community to volunteer. We were too busy at church! No, I don’t recommend it at all. I’m truly embarrassed.
Our church has pushed us in areas of being involved in outreach in the community as proof of our faith
Since moving to Huntsville, our church here is very committed to involvement in the community as proof of our Christianity. We always said we believed in it, just couldn’t seem to fit it in! Recently, we started volunteering at Meals on Wheels. It is a very simple, menial program where we deliver meals to the homes of shut-ins in a given section of town. We see how a variety of people live while alone in old age in their homes. Some have the means to have some help. Others don’t seem to have much help at all. It is very sad.How can we spread the Light if we stay in our Christian bubble? We need to get out into the darkness. Click To Tweet
We are also helping with a reading program at a nearby elementary school each week. Often, we are able to fill the gap when parents don’t have time to help with reading homework. It is giving balance to our lives.
No, we’re not leading Bible studies. We’re just bringing light into their worlds. Occasionally, a person asks for prayer and we stop to pray with them when we take a meal. I’m trying to think of something a bit more redemptive than simply, “Have a nice day!” I’m thinking the common greeting used in much of the black community is one I may use. “Have a blessed day.” It seems to point a little more in the direction of GOD and His involvement in our lives.
My upbringing and much of my adult life involved emphasis on right belief…not a bad thing.
Much of my upbringing was oriented to the importance of believing the right things.
- You needed to believe the Bible.
- You needed to be sure the people you were around were told about the Gospel, no matter how much of it they were ready to hear.
- The values of tact, respect, listening to hear where the other person’s thinking was? They were not thought to be nearly as valued as the following values: truth, honesty, being right!
As you can imagine, GOD had to work on me in order that I could function in a meaningful way in the churches we served.
Never mind functioning in the world of nursing. It involved working with people who often didn’t care about whether I was a Christian. Or serving patients who couldn’t care less about what a Christian is as long as they get their pain medication on time and are treated kindly.
Developing a lifestyle of outreach early in life prepares you for healthy aging.
Particularly, if you are older, I highly recommend an attitude of outreach to people around you. I have watched many people as they age. The ones who are alert and aware, watching out for those who need help will stay healthy and alert much longer. Those who focus on their difficulties and hardships, turning inward, tend to have a much more difficult time finding joy and satisfaction as they look back on their life.
I observe it in my own life as well. As Christians, we need to reach out in mission to the world around us. I found the following passages interesting as I think of this whole concept of mission or outreach.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him,
then he will sit on his glorious throne.
Before him will be gathered all the nations,
and he will separate people one from another
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
Then the King will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you clothed me,
I was sick and you visited me,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will answer them,
‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,
you did it to me.’
Thankfully, Christ has fulfilled the requirements of the Law for us when He was here on earth. We will never reach out enough or love others enough. But He is growing us in grace and mercy as we learn to reach out to the world around us.
Are we willing to feed the hungry? Welcome the stranger? Minister to the sick or imprisoned?
Often He calls us to do it one or two at a time. May GOD help us!