Dear Fellow Disciple-Maker,
Years ago I remember talking with a high school student who informed me that she was not going back to church ever again. When I inquired why, she stated that her reason was nobody talked to her.
She went on to explain that on a recent Sunday she stood by herself in the foyer of the church building for around thirty minutes before the morning service began. She stood there and simply waited for someone to talk to her. When nobody did, she decided that she was not important and made the decision to never attend church again.
I realized that there was more to her story. She had been hurt and was looking for a way to make a statement. Certainly, her litmus test of waiting to see if anyone would talk to her was not an emotionally mature approach. Nevertheless, it made sense to her. We all recognize that strong emotions often block rational thinking.
The experience with my teenage friend reminds me that people need to be known and needed. People need to feel emotionally connected to other people. The human touch is just that – human! It is one person letting another person know that he or she matters. Being connected to one another in the body of Christ is what the church family is all about. Without that sense of extended family, that sense of togetherness, the church can quickly become just another organization.
Recently I reached out to a person whose mother had been admitted to the hospital. I was unsure of his mother’s condition or any of the details but I knew that he and his wife would receive my phone call. What I was not prepared for was their remarkably positive response. They were so thankful and let me know in unmistakable terms how they felt about my simple phone call. Truthfully, I had no idea it would touch them that deeply or make them feel the way it did. The whole experience turned out to be much more meaningful to them than I ever imagined. To me it was just a phone call. To them it was a sense that they were important and their life mattered.
The gospel is a love story. There are numerous verses that emphasize God's love for us: He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (I John 4:10). He loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20). Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25). God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8). As you remember the personal love Christ has for you, recall His command to love one another as I have loved you. (John 13:34). To get the love of Christ in focus changes one's existence. It creates in us a new heart and inspires us to act in his name.
Jesus noted that small, loving acts done in His name are deeds that mark the people of God. He said, "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" (Matthew 25:35-36).
Who is there in your church family, small group, Sunday School class, neighborhood, or workplace that needs a simple phone call? I believe you know who it is and I believe you also know their phone number. I challenge them to make the call. Do it with the approval of Jesus.
Call them today and remember what Jesus said: "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40).
Author:Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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