I wondered if you’ve ever questioned whether you make a difference.
Whether you are reflecting on your time with family, friends, work colleagues, the local community or your church family – I wonder if you’ve ever questioned what the result of all your blood, sweat and tears amounts to?
Sometimes we can be too busy to even ask this question, but I believe the answer has the potential to transform the way we see God’s mission and our involvement in it.
We can give our lives to many things! There is no shortage of groups, organisations or projects that would happily receive our offer of time…but as Christians how do we prayerfully discern what we invest our time in?
“It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?”
Henry David Thoreau, Letters to Various Persons
Often I believe we complicate the Christian life to such a degree that it makes it harder to understand our purpose. When Jesus was asked about the most important commandment, he gave a definitive answer and I believe his response is a blueprint for a rich and active life in Christ.
Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and the most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.'”
How would our understanding of life change if the question we asked at the end of every day was not “What did I achieve?” or “How did I do?” but “How have I deepened my love for God today and shown his love to those I have spent time with?”
“God’s definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love.”
Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Sometimes, in our busyness and our quest to set up programmes and projects we can over-think things. As I write this, many of you will be preparing to bare their feet this Sunday for the ‘Feet First’ campaign to raise money for the Leprosy mission. I think this is a wonderful example of where the collective heart of God’s people is broken for those in need and we are moved to try and communicate his love to those he has created.
As I have spoken with those I am studying with at Spurgeons this year, I have heard many wonderful examples of God’s church rising up to meet the needs of its local community. This has often involved real creativity and anything from providing community meals for the homeless through to pop-up events sharing the gospel on a giant screen.
What we can be assured of is this, that where we partner in God’s mission, where we commit to sharing his love and the good news with those we meet with, work with, laugh with and cry with…God will use this for his glory and for his purposes!
Let us not overlook all that God is doing in our midst! Sometimes, through the love we are able to share with others, we see God do miraculous works! Praise be to God! But sometimes the impact of persevering in loving others (even when it would be easier to stop!) can be harder to measure. Let us continue though in the knowledge that when we serve in God’s mission to transform the world, no word or small act is wasted!
And finally, as we commit ourselves again to loving those who are our ‘neighbours’, let’s not forget that the key to observing the 2nd most commandment is pursuing the 1st!