We have been talking a lot lately about living a three-dimensional gospel. What this means is that we have a Christian life that is:
- Upward focused (We are passionate in our relationship with God)
- Inward focused (We are radical in our commitment to one another as a community)
- Outward focused (purposeful in joining God in word and deed to a world in need)
One of the biggest challenges of living as a Christian Community is keeping the outward focus strong. We can pursue a relationship with God and build our commitment to one another all within the confines of a Church building. However the process of joining God in his mission requires us to leave the comfort of the Church for the messiness of the mission-field.
There are many ways we can serve outwardly. It can be as simple as taking time to get to know your neighbors or as dramatic as selling all you have and moving to a nation in another hemisphere. God invites all of us to listen to His voice and respond to His personal call to share his love to our neighbors both near and far. One of the key ways God calls us is to open our eyes and lives to serve the people around us. Jesus Himself promises us that he can be found among those in need (Matthew 25:31-46). Helping to serve our neighbors is one of best ways we can give honor and draw glory to God (Matthew 5:16). Serving others is also an essential part in preaching the Gospel. As Jesus sent his disciples out he commanded them not only to teach people about him, but to seek out the sick and the needy (Matthew 10:8). James even reminds us that the religion that is pure and holy before God is not only that which takes our own need for a savior seriously but also that which cares for the most vulnerable (James 1:27).
Discerning God's voice in our lives can sometimes be difficult, but when it comes to serving outward it doesn't need to be complicated. Look at everything God has given you and then look for opportunities to share it with those in need. John the baptist lays it out simply for us in Luke 3:11, "anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."
May we live with open hands and open lives ready for God to use us!