Step Out Your Front – Look Left, Look Right – 4/15/20

Jason Ward

Proverbs 3:27-28 – “Do all you can for everyone who deserves your help. Don’t tell your neighbor to come back tomorrow, if you can help today”

 

Stay-at-home. Shelter-in-place. For most, these phrases subconsciously evoke a posture of defensiveness, protection (for their family or themselves), and/or skepticism (as we judge whether “they” could get us sick). We quickly look inward and worry about our own lives – the logistics of sustaining oneself or our families financially, physically, emotionally, and mentally. We get consumed by the worries of this world. Aren’t these postures the exact opposite of who God has called us to be?

  

Proverbs 3 is a speech from a father (King Solomon) to his son, where he instructs his son to trust in God, pursue Wisdom, and treat others properly. King Solomon instructs us to do all that we can without delay (ASAP) He admonishes us to use wisdom, both understanding and discernment, and contextualizes it as our neighbors whether literally our physical neighbors or figuratively as co-workers, person walking their dog, mailman, Amazon delivery guy, etc. 

 

With COVID-19, we could easily add more mental barriers and reasons for not doing this.  The church body of Citylight has focused on a heart of service and provided structured opportunities to reach and serve the community where we’ve been placed.  How has your personal life reflected this? The last few weeks have provided me a few simple reminders that have prompted me to greater action, which I hope encourage you as well: 

 

“All you can” means both worldly support (e.g., money, food, time, etc.) and support of their soul. We all have “wisdom” to share – our personal stories and journeys of our own faith, including where we are imperfectly at in that moment.  No one comes to know Christ through only support of this world alone; it requires one life meaningfully impacting another to have someone’s soul hear that they matter and their creator is actively chasing them.

God heals (e.g., Matthew 9, Mark 2, Luke 17) but healing / cure from COVID-19 may not be the answer. God’s perfect plan sometimes requires suffering and the experience of disease, illness, and hardship. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love us or have a plan for us, quite the contrary.  My dad had to have glioblastoma (a very aggressive form of brain cancer) in order to have him wrestle with the frailty of life and his own faith. Luckily, God had orchestrated my wife and I being able to move down there and ultimately see him come back to the Lord before passing. (Praise the Lord for his sovereignty and unfailing love, which includes chasing us down!)

Jesus never let fear or the consequences for his humanity (i.e., his physical body) stop him from serving those who were sick. In Matthew 9:35, he traveled “healing every disease and every affliction”.  He did not let the fear of the disease or ailment stop his ministry.

 

God’s ultimate goal is for his creation to know him. He built His wisdom into creation. He put each of us in a specific place with specific people around us.  Be bold. Be wise. Have your faith matter to others.

Prayer Points

 

  1. Pray that we would be bold in doing “all you can” for your neighbors, not just serving their worldly needs but also spending meaningful, dedicated time with them to have their souls hear Christ’s love and compassion for them
  2. Pray that Citylight would not be defined only by the programs supporting our community but the evidence of gospel-inspired individuals impacting the individual lives around them
  3. Pray that our city see a movement of believers, not complacent and meek, but bold and unforgiving in their proclamation that Jesus is Lord and unyielding in their desire to serve their neighbors in need.