Tsunamis…Hurricanes…Floods…Fires…Earthquakes…most of us have fond ourselves watching the nightly news, moved by the heartbreaking calamities around the world. In the midst of it, we ask, we ask: “What in the world is going on…and what can we do?”
Jesus commissioned His Church to lay their lives down in loving service to a broken world. We are to love through compassionate and often times, spontaneous—acts of kindness, reflecting the very glory and nature of God to those whose image of Him may have been distorted through suffering and loss. Throughout the teachings of Jesus, it is simply impossible to miss the mandate that He has given to His followers to show love for Him by serving others in need.
Before actively engaging His disciples in acts of service, however, Jesus purposefully invested Himself into their lives—spiritually, relationally, and practically. This pattern of modeling and molding His team was evident throughout the time He walked with them on Earth. It was woven into the fabric of His relationship and the various tasks He assigned at any given moment. His first priority was to prepare them for the demands that would soon be placed upon them. Jesus knew that without this foundation, they could not follow His example by laying their lives down for others.
Discipleship just doesn’t happen by itself. As followers of Jesus serving in compassion ministries in the nonprofit world, we must be intentional about investing into the lives of those bearing the burden of service. The rush to serve must be tempered by the example of Jesus: care for those entrusted to us first, so that they, in turn, can care for others. Tis care is not a one-time event but rather an ongoing expression of loving God and loving one another. The careful and continual attention to the well-being of our team will result in far greater effectiveness, and bear transformational fruit in the lives of the served as well as the servant.
*Jack & Cherie Menton are the founders of Hope Force International, a nonprofit organization created to provide a clear pathway to mobilize Christians into rapid disaster response scenarios around the world. Go to www.hopeforce.org
Reflection Points: the Character of God and Nonprofits and Service Organizations
- He is merciful (Psalm 69:16; 103:2-5, 8; Ephesians 2:4-7)
- He is just (Deuteronomy 10:17-18; Psalm 103:6)
- He gives hope (Psalm 62:5; 42:5)
- He is present for the poor and needy (Psalm 12:5; 34:6; Luke 4:18)
- He defends the widow and fathers the orphan (Psalm 68:5; 146:9)
- He is companion to the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, and the prisoner (Matthew 25:31-46)
- God is the giver/donor (Luke 12:32; Acts 17:25; Romans 12:6-8)
- He is a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1-3)
- He is a stronghold and refuge in the day of trouble (Nahum 1:7)