As I sit down to write this newsletter article for October, I have within my heart a deep concern for many of our members who are experiencing serious medical illnesses, physical difficulties, emotionally draining situations, and financial burdens. These are the types of conditions that place considerable strain on the individuals who are being directly affected. These are also circumstances that have a way of greatly affecting the families and friends who are caring for, and care about, their loved ones who are in jeopardy.
As members of Emmanuel we have been brought together by God to be a church family. But in the bigger picture of the Kingdom of God, you and I are members of the body of Christ. In I Cor. 12:24b-26, Paul tells us something of what that means, “But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” As members of the body of Christ and the Emmanuel Church family, may we be the type of caring people who look for opportunities to come alongside our brothers and sisters who are suffering.
What are some opportunities that are available to reach out in love to those hurting? First and foremost, we can lift these individuals and their families up in prayer. We try to do this during the time we have general prayers in our worship service. We do this when the need is made known to me. Yet, it is also very important for us to remember these saints in our personal and family prayers, as well. Secondly, we can send cards of care and concern to the person, or persons, who are facing a tough moment in their lives. Sympathetic and loving words can soothe the aching heart. Thirdly, we can offer assistance to the one struggling and to their family. It might come by visiting them and simply listening to them. It may happen through a phone call. It may take place when we are able to provide a meal or two, as a way to help lessen their workload and stress level. Or, you and I may be blessed to be in the position to give assistance through a monetary gift.
Each of us, at one time or another, has faced or will face a major setback in our lives. As those situations arise what a blessing it is when other people come along side us and are there for us. Jesus was very clear when He talked about such things in Matthew 25:35-40, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, 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.” As Christians we are called to reach out to those who are in need, especially those individuals who are fellow members of the body of Christ.
In Matthew 19:19 and 22:39, Mark 12, and Romans 13:9, you and I are told that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Reaching out in love to one another is exactly what we are called to do as God’s children. There is definitely a wealth of opportunities to help our neighbor, and many of those exist within our own church family. I pray that each of us will search our hearts and seek the Lord’s will on how we might be a blessing to our neighbor who is in need. And as we reach out, as God’s people, may He be glorified by our actions.