On Wednesday nights, I have the pleasure to lead a group of women through a bible study at church. The study we are currently doing now is Nehemiah by Kelly Minter (below). I absolutely L.O.V.E. this author!
I had never heard of her before, but get this: She’s young (30ish), sings and plays guitar, loves to cook, has aspirations about creating her own garden, does mission work in the Amazon, and even includes recipes in her bible study book. I can so relate with this girl! I feel like we’re already BFFs!
Anyway, her study on Nehemiah is phenomenal. If you’ve ever read the book of Nehemiah before, I originally thought it was just a teaching book on leadership skills. But since I’ve started going through Minter’s study, I’ve found it is about so much more! It’s literally about being the Hands and Feet of Jesus. I’ve come to realize that at the heart of everything we are called to do in service to God is about relationships. Writing checks to charities, praying for the poor, and even protecting those who have no power to stand up for themselves are all amazing things that we should do. However, part of me thinks that if you never personally spend time with, talked to, or built a relationship with those who don’t know Jesus, how can they see Christ in you?
I heard a saying early on in my life that has stayed with me. It went something like this, ” You may be the only Jesus someone ever sees.” We can follow Jesus’ example of showing love and acceptance and patience to people that don’t know him. In Romans 2:4, it’s written that the kindness of God is what leads us to repentance. Just like Nehemiah’s mission was to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, our mission is to be a bridge for people to help them see the grace that is Christ and come back into relationship with him. We can help rebuild the hearts of people who have fallen away or never know the love of Christ. And we can do that by showing Christ’s kindness.
Now, I know that at least for me, that can be a real struggle. I struggle with a life plate that is constantly too full. It seems like the rooms of my house are never actually clean at the same time, there are always dishes in the sink, I have a list of things to do each day that is a mile long, and in the midst of all that, I’m trying to maintain the good relationships I know God has placed in my life to begin with (primarily my relationship with God and my husband.) It seems like there’s never a break from all the running around.
What I’ve learned, though, is that God’s opportunities for us to make a difference every day are there. We just need to be willing to slow down long enough to see them. Especially if you are busy, you meet or pass new people every day. At the grocery store. On the way to work. In the car. At home in your neighborhood. I’m talking to myself especially today…how often do I say “hello, how are you?” How often do I make a point just to smile as I pass by? I think usually I’m mentally checking things off my to-do list on my frantic travels to and from. Or on the phone. Or looking ahead to the rest of my day, thinking about what part of the list to charge into next. If you struggle with that too, check out my friend, Danielle’s, blog about priorities and balance here. It hit home with me today.
So, that brings me to my challenge.
My challenge for you this week is to be Christ to someone you don’t know. They may be working at a store you are in, on the corner asking for food, in your neighborhood, or even in your church. People are desperate for some love and kindness. Show them you care enough to ask them how their day has been, what they’re looking forward to most that evening, and if you’re so bold, if there’s anything you can pray for for them. You might be surprised. A little goes a long way.
Yesterday, we were driving up to Atlanta, GA for the weekend. As is our usual road trip tradition (confession coming up 🙂 ) we stopped at a Chick-fil-A for lunch. (Yes, not the healthiest food, but we just adore the company standards and integrity Truett Cathy built). Anyway, we had been in the car for a number of hours and I had to go to the restroom. Jesse and Henry hit up the drive-through while I went in. As I approached the door, I saw a lady who looked like she’d had a rough day coming up to the same door. Her hair was kind of messy and she just looked tired. Without really thinking about it, I opened the door, smiled my most welcoming smile, and held it for her. She said “Oh, thank you” in a very surprised but weary tone. As I responded with my own “Of course, my pleasure,” I noticed her eyes glance down to my necklace. As I walked inside, I remembered which necklace I was wearing – my cross. It’s my prayer that she saw just a glimpse of the kindness and love of Jesus through me. I don’t know her name or even how the rest of her day went, but I do know that if every Christian showed even that small level of kindness and consideration (andcomplete absence of judgement), Christians as a whole would have a better reputation. And more people would be attracted to the One they so desperately need to know – Jesus.
Love you all, Beth XOXO