Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thinking Differently: Faith in Action

My family volunteering at Neighborhood House
When I was younger, I thought that being a "good example" was enough of a witness to the message of Jesus. My plan was that the people around me would see that I lived a good life and ask me what motivates me. It would be then that I would be able to share my faith with them because they were open to hearing it. It seemed like such a great plan to me because I wouldn't have to bug them about my beliefs, and it would be perfect timing for them when they were ready to hear it.

That way of thinking was ridiculous. I didn't really understand that I sinned just as much as any other person in the world, so my idea of being a "good example" was flawed. This was just selfish because I didn't want to actually do anything with my faith.

Now, as a married man with kids, I am reading more of the Bible and learning more about this faith that I believe in. I am realizing that being a Christian is not just about what I believe, but how I live out my faith.

James says, "What good is it if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?" He goes on to say that someone who wishes someone well without caring for their physical needs is pointless. Jesus consistently cared for those who were hurting and in pain.

What have I been doing with my faith? It's not about just believing and working on my own life. God has called us to not only love Him, but also love others.

If I want to be more like Jesus, I should be caring for those who are hurting. What could I do? It seems overwhelming to know where to start since there is so much crap in this world. Getting out of my comfort zone is the first step. God gives me the confidence to think about others more than myself, get off my ass, and go help people in need. It's a witness of Christ's love when He is working in me to do something my flesh doesn't naturally want to do.

Jen and I recently took Nolan and Delaney to Neighborhood House to help volunteer. It is a non-profit organization that helps low-income people in the community. Their goal is to help vulnerable people overcome challenges to achieve success, stability, and independence. About once per month they have a family volunteer night that is ideal to bring kids to help. Nolan and Delaney had a blast!

My students volunteering at Neighborhood House
At school, I took my students to Neighborhood House in two groups. We plan to go back twice every trimester, developing a partnership that lasts. Not just a one-time food drive, but regularly helping with our time. I made a video with my students and we presented it to the other K-5 students at school. My students also had a blast!

If it is such a blast to help others (I think it is too), then why don't Christians do it more often? Why do we always make excuses NOT to help others?

I need to think differently. My faith must lead to action. These actions of ours are done as a response to the message of Jesus. He is the source of love. He saved us and we ought to respond with loving others as well.