Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Being Jesus' Hands and Feet

It can be difficult to be a Christian who gives back. It is easy to become a Christian for our own sake, but we know that scripture tells us over and over again that if we are Christ’s, we must be serving others. It is through our works that people see God through us. This is an area which I believe is seriously lacking in the modern world.

Many people have the idea that Christians are only out there to criticize or judge, and that is our (Christian’s) fault! We as the Christian community need to be out and involved and showing our local communities that the hands and feet of Jesus are not idle or only self serving.

Matthew 5:14-16 says:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Acts 20:35 says:
In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.

And the examples go on. We are to be active, moving in society and volunteering ourselves and our time.
Believe me, I know how difficult is it to make time to volunteer. I also know that it can be difficult to figure out where to start. I work full-time (until the Lord sees fit to bless me with children), and I also spend many of my weekends out of state. It has been difficult to make time to volunteer, as sometimes I feel like I can barely keep up with what I do have on my plate. But the Lord is faithful and gives me strength to do his will AND all that I already have on my plate.

Here is another example where I get to use my favorite phrase (which you had seen elsewhere on this blog): you make time for things that are important to you. Isn’t that phrase annoying? It constantly reminds me of all the things I have time to do which are unnecessary, and how many things I should be doing that I don’t make time for. For example, my nails get painted, my makeup gets applied, my books get read, my sewing gets done, my blogs get written, etc. There are all sorts of things that I like to do which I make time for, so I don’t have an excuse, no matter how busy I am, to neglect the importance of volunteering my time and resources to others.

If you are like me and have a heart for volunteering but often wonder where to begin, you have only to look into your Bible:

1 Timothy 5:4 says:
But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.

Your volunteer work and charity needs to begin with your own family. Make time to visit great aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc. who need help. I take my responsibility to my family seriously by making sure to provide company, support, love, needs, and services to my family members who need it.

Is there anyone in your family who could use your support, company, help, or resources?

If you are ready to also volunteer outside of your family, try to get involved with things which cater to your God’s given skill set. Now, this doesn’t mean you should ignore opportunities to serve wherever you see them, but God did give you certain skills which you should use to serve others.

Has God blessed you in some special way which you can use to serve others? i.e. has God provided you with money that you should be giving away? Has God provided you with the skill to cook, which you could be using to provide meals to the elderly and the homeless? Has God provided you with the skill to play an instrument, or social skills, or sympathy which you can use to bless someone else?

I have an interest in the international and a passion for language learning and inter-cultural outreach. I also have a passion for working with teenagers. Outside of my family volunteering, I volunteer with my local Rotary Youth Exchange district. I was a Rotary Youth Exchange student twice, for a year each time, to Finland and Brazil when I was a teenager. I think it is important for teens to experience other cultures, but I think it is also important for them to be guided through the experience. Therefore, I work closely with the students as they go through issues like homesickness and cultural integration, and sometimes even racism. This has been a great way for me to minister to others and to be a Christian witness, especially to teens who maybe have never had a relationship with a Christian before.

I also am an English language conversation partner with a local Christian organization. This organization pairs college exchange students with local Christians to practice their English on average once a week for an hour. This is a great ministry, as many of the students have never had an opportunity to know Christ or hear about him, so this organization intentionally puts these students in the position to build relationships with local Christians and hear the gospel.

My husband has a passion for working with the elderly, and he also has a great mind for logic-based games. He has decided he is going to begin volunteering by going to the elderly homes and playing games and providing companionship to the elderly. That is something he will be so good at, and I am happy that there are people like him in this world to do that, because I know I would not be as good at it.

One good place to look for volunteering opportunities is at www.christianvolunteering.org. They have a wealth of opportunities, and many of them you might not ever have known about. I found my English conversation opportunity on there. Also check out opportunities at your church.

Besides it being your duty as a Christian to serve, you will also be providing your children with an awesome example of how they should give back. Show your children by example what it means to live your faith out loud.

So get out there and be motivated. Don’t be a Christian like a stagnant lake, just existing to be fed. Instead be like a river, flowing and touching and feeding others; taking what feeds you and pouring it out.

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I love to fellowship with others and hear what they have to say. I would ask, however, that you be mindful of what you write and try to be uplifting and respectful. Thank you for sharing!