Newly Published: A Daily Dose of Godly Encouragement: Book 2: Spring

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March 18 – Seeking the Lost

Luke chapter 15

The stranger entering the church was young and new to the community, struggling with her faith, and facing serious problems. She tentatively took her place in the back as the service began. There was a time for prayer requests. Hearing the prayers, she felt a sense of peace. Overcome, she prayed so others could hear: “God, thank you for bringing me here. Let me receive your grace. Let me grow in your love and peace.” In that prayer the stranger found peace and the church reached out to comfort her.

This story represents the church at its best. Someone is troubled, seeking help, searching for God and finds what she needs within the church. I wish it could always be that way, but it isn’t. “I lay in the streets. People pass me by, ignoring my almost invisible presence. I’m kicked out of the shelter at 6:30 am. By 8 am, I am in line for breakfast. I don’t look at those putting food on my tray. I can’t stand being seen by those eyes. No eyes ever meet mine. No one sees me, but I am here.”

Both stories illustrate how we often respond to others in need. A simplistic answer would be to say that most of us either reach out with true compassion or we offer help but with an attitude of judgment. Reality is more complicated. 

So, how should we respond to those in need? One reaction would be to ignore them. After all, you didn’t cause their problems. A better response would be to pray and hope their situation will improve. You could send a check or volunteer with a group involved in helping others. All appropriate but as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are challenged to “do more” through the love and grace of almighty God.

Steve Trapani shared his own story about helping others: I read about Lady Gaga appearing at a Presidential inauguration to sing the National Anthem. She was worried about going down the steps of the Capitol, so they found a Marine to escort her. While waiting Lady Gaga confessed she was nervous and felt this was the biggest performance of her life. The Marine assured her she would do well but then asked if she would like to pray. Right then and there they prayed for support. 

Steve then shared this story: “I decided to stop by the Mattaponi Tribe reservation. We provide food and toys at Christmas. While there, I noticed the food pantry shelves were bare. They gave out all the food and were not expecting more. So, I asked if we could send food more frequently? Just like the Marine helping Lady Gaga, I was in the right place at the right time, listened to God and came up with a way to help people in need.” 

These stories represent the church at its best. Yes, we are to provide help for the least, the last and the lost but if we truly want to be disciples of Jesus we must find a way to work through our discomfort and truly love our neighbor as Jesus loves us. 

Prayer Challenge: How can we better respond as Christians to the needs around us?


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