A Caring Church
Luke10:25-37 - The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" 27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live." 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."
Do you realize that believers should not have to look beyond the body of Christ to have their needs met? We are meant to be a self-sustaining body. After several decades in ministry, I have seen only one way for the church to function as it should: believers must commit to give of themselves on behalf of others.
For example, a man determines to pray and struggle alongside a hurting brother until the burdensome situation is resolved or peace returns. Or a woman makes herself available to answer a new Christian's questions about the weekly sermon--the two ladies search the Bible and fill their minds with Scripture. And there are countless other ways to serve others, such as driving an elderly member to the service, teaching a Sunday school class, or visiting a weary single mom and listening to her concerns.
Before you become overwhelmed by the variety of needs in your church, let me remind you that loving each other is meant to be a body-wide effort. One person cannot meet every need. But suppose you commit to serving a small group of folks whom God brings into your sphere of influence. If, in order to care for them, you surrender self-focused preferences about resources and time, the Lord will bless you with more joy and contentment than you've ever known.
To serve others before serving yourself is to practice authentic Christianity. I'm certain that if believers commit to meeting as many needs as the Lord brings to their attention, then a lazy church can be transformed, becoming a true body of believers who function together for the glory of God.