How often do we try to preach to people before caring for their needs? On the other hand, how often do we provide service to those in need, but fail to share the Gospel with them?
Jesus’ life on earth showcases a multitude of examples that reminds us that our mission is to be Christ’s hands and feet through active evangelism and discipleship, but to adequately accomplish this mission – in order to have a receptive audience ready to learn about God – we must first meet the human needs of those we seek to share Christ with.
Jesus said in Matthew 25:35-36 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
These verses serve as a direct reminder of the importance of caring for the needs of those we encounter. These words and examples of Christ gives us practical ways to serve our community and world. While serving others is key, we must not forget the mission behind the method. We must not stop short of sharing Christ (evangelism) and helping those around us to nurture their relationship with Him (discipleship). Service, evangelism, and discipleship are all components of our responsibility as servants of God.
So this month, I encourage you to consider how you serve those around you, as well as how you share Jesus to the people you encounter. Do your efforts interlink, or is there a disconnect? If you enjoy service, do you just assume that evangelism and discipleship will be taken care of by someone else? If you enjoy evangelism or discipleship, do you assume that someone else will meet the human needs of those you seek to teach about Jesus?
Perhaps you are already doing all three – kudos to you! However, if you’re like most of us, it takes us out of our comfort zone to meet both physical needs and to share the Gospel. So my appeal to you today is to spend a moment to personally reflect, to step out of your comfort zone, and to ask God to give you wisdom and courage to serve, teach, and love each and every person whom you encounter. Together – through the love and power of Jesus – we are preparing, planting, and cultivating seeds for the Kingdom! May our lives represent Christ’s method alone!