A friend recently told me a very inspiring story. When she first moved across the country for a new job, Lynn wasn’t sure what to expect in her new town. Her first Sunday there, she headed to a church, hoping to fellowship with like-minded believers and find a church home in the process.
No one welcomed her. No one said “hi.” No one even acknowledged her presence. And this was a small church.
Throughout the week, Lynn visited a local business. A woman who worked there invited Lynn to her church. “And I’ll be waiting by the front door for you so I can show you around,” she told Lynn.
Sure enough the woman was there. She showed Lynn around the church, introduced her to others, and encouraged her to come back the following week.
When Lynn was diagnosed with breast cancer a short time later, the congregants of her new church drove her to her chemo appointments 95 miles each way, brought her meals, mowed her yard, and prayed with and for her. All with only knowing her a short amount of time.
She told me with tears in her eyes that these precious brothers and sisters in Christ had become her family.
Another friend, Sarah, in another town recently went through a nasty and unwanted divorce. Betrayed, broken, and hurt by the man she still loved, she stumbled into the church she had attended with her husband for the past year, sobbing and asking if someone would please pray with her. The secretary looked perplexed and called for one of the elders in the building. Rather than praying for her, he suggested she find a divorce support group, then ushered her out of the church.
Sarah has yet to find a new church home.
A blog post on how churches should welcome and support fellow believers?
On the contrary. Rather, my blog post is one about how important it is to live out our faith.
We, as Christians, have been given an important responsibility. To love Jesus and to love His church and to share the Gospel with nonbelievers.
Here are some suggestions on how we might better live out our faith.
Be the light. Sure, we hear this phrase often. But what does it mean to be the light? Consider the following verses:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:14-16
“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” ~ Ephesians 5:8
We are to stand out from the rest of the crowd. We are to show our light and be able to give an answer for the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15). We aren’t to blend in and look like the world, but to look like one of His. Yes, there truly is a difference between us and someone who doesn’t proclaim Christ.
Definitely a tall order in a world that puts a high emphasis on things that are anti-Christian.
Be a doer, not just a talker. When we say we will pray for someone, we need to take that promise seriously and not just say it, but follow through and do so. Prayer is important and effective. People are hurting and struggling with a multitude of issues, from grief to serious illness; from job loss to homelessness; from addiction to the difficult road to recovery.
Reach out to those around you. Our world moves at a dizzying pace. We are ever consumed with busyness and a focus on our ourselves. What if we instead took the time to care for those less fortunate? To help someone in need of help? To lend a listening ear? To ask someone how we can serve them, and then offer to follow through with their request? To be a giver rather than a taker? Jesus consistently reached out to the less fortunate. He loved others with genuine passion. When we serve others, we serve Him. (Matthew 25:40-45).
In today’s world, it’s not always “popular” to be a Christian. We are encouraged to dim our lights or even put them out completely. Rather than follow the world’s demands, let’s vow to live out our faith daily with the confidence that we are called to a higher purpose and live for Someone greater than anyone on earth.
As someone once said, “You may be the only Jesus some people see.”
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