In the wake of natural disasters and human tragedies, it’s not unusual for caring people from all walks of life to come together to provide for those who suffered loss. Some volunteers have a lot to offer; others, not so much. Yet all of them give from their own surplus to help others who have less.
What if the followers of Christ applied the same model when it comes to hope?
Hope is a scarce commodity.
Poverty, homelessness, broken homes, unemployment (or underemployment), health issues (physical and mental), addiction, violence, and personal struggles cloud the horizon and make it difficult for people to see a way forward. They devastate people’s hope and peace of mind.
Where there’s devastation, though, there’s an opportunity for rebuilding—and an opportunity for followers of Christ to carry out His work. Here are three things you can do to become a source of hope in your community.
Connect in a non-virtual way.
With apologies to Facebook, Instagram and other virtual platforms, a thousand or more social media “friends” cannot equal the impact of one genuinely caring flesh-and-blood acquaintance—someone who has something more substantial to offer than a praying hands emoji.
In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good that man should be alone.” Passages such as Matthew 18:20, Romans 12:15, and Hebrews 3:13 make it clear that physical interaction is integral to His plan for humankind.
Stepping out from behind a screen to engage personally with others signals a willingness to “get our hands dirty”—to do the hard relational work necessary to bring healing and hope to the lives of people who need it.
Put your skills to use.
1 Peter 4:10 (“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God”) reminds us that we’re given a unique set of talents and abilities for a reason: to make a difference in other people’s lives. Imagine …
- A mechanic putting his or her automotive skills to use for a single parent who can’t afford car repair costs
- Someone with a passion for cooking preparing and delivering meals for families in need
- Empty nesters offering occasional evenings of child care for overworked, overstressed young parents
- Someone who’s knowledgeable about fitness and nutrition leading workouts for at-risk people in the community
- A business executive volunteering as a mentor for young people seeking a career.
With a little creativity and effort, you can use your skills, experience, and knowledge to bring hope to others.
Seek out the overlooked.
In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus identifies so closely with outcasts—people who have fallen through the cracks of society—that He tells His followers, Whatever you do for them, you’re doing for Me.
That means when we …
- Volunteer at a food bank, we’re making sure that Jesus has enough to eat.
- Spend time with nursing home residents, we’re showing Jesus that He isn’t forgotten.
- Visit people in prison, we’re letting Jesus know that His life still has worth.
- Assist the disabled at school or work, we’re making Jesus’ life a little easier.
- Intervene when someone is being bullied, we’re protecting Jesus.
Offering hope to those who need it is evangelism in its purest form. Matthew 5:16 instructs us, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Personally investing in someone’s life communicates God’s love more powerfully than any outreach event.
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