Living a Life of Caring

Worship artist and composer, Nigel Briggs, with the UK Vineyard church once wrote a song entitled, “Let my life be like a love song!” This title is a profound summary of what the Christian life is supposed to be all about. Love songs are alluring, tender, affirming, and inspiring expressions of loyalty and devoted tenderness.
“Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling,
calling O sinner, come home!”
This world needs more tenderness; more loyal love. These past years have seen political and ideological foment, derisive division, global warfare, desperate refugees, innocent victims caught in crossfire, unstable markets, soaring prices, and in many places and circumstances, the collapse of...
“On earth peace, good will toward men.”
Luke 2:14 NKJV
I believe that Christian communities (congregations) are at their best when we become contagious because of our caring. I believe it is the epicenter of God’s heart for His beloved children: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 10:35 ESV). One of the most important commitments we can make as a church family is to become a contagious, caring congregation. The mark of true caring in any congregation is found in its people’s sustained connections.

People can be drawn to a congregation because the people are FRIENDLY, but they will only stay and become connected if they discover FRIENDS in this new community (meaningful and life-giving connections). True caring is imbedded and experienced only in relationships. The Good Samaritan story (Luke 10:25-37) provides for us four key reminders for us on this journey towards becoming an authentically CARING congregation:

(1) Our caring must be Surprising. It’s not what we would expect but goes beyond our typical social circles. Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:46). True caring goes outside the normal boundaries of expected behavior.

(2) Our caring must be Willful. Almost every form of caring requires interrupting our journey, taking a detour we hadn’t planned or scheduled, and then spending time, energy and resources we had already allocated (at least in our minds) in crossing over into connections that might be risky, hurtful or potentially unproductive.

(3) Our Caring must also be Empathetic. When I consider my life as theirs, or if I see myself (or my mother for instance) laying there by the roadside, would I not stop and pour out myself for my own? When my “heart goes out” to someone, I am both motivated to act, connect, share and offer my time and attention. The priority of the moment becomes for me the urgent basis for a response instead of resistance.

(4) True caring must be Relational. When people with problems move from being our “projects” or “interruptions” to our “fellow pilgrims” they feel valued, loved, cared for and dignified. Giving people aid, listening to them and offering help is one thing, but giving them the gift of yourself in relationship is a much deeper form of caring. This is what Paul referred to
as he celebrated a caring relationship he had with the Thessalonians: “Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8 NASB).

The gift of RELATIONSHIP is the very best way to demonstrate caring. Truth is, our CARING as individuals and a congregation will be directly related to the extent of our CONNECTION with each other. The more we know one another, the better we will care for each other. But it does mean slowing down and facing the challenge of getting into one another’s lives.

I want to ask you to take a journey with me in this season of wonder and hope. Let us resolve to value and cherish one another more as an expression of doing life as a church family. Christmas is a time of increased caring and sharing. But the sentiments and season come and go so quickly. As the picture indicates, two boys taking a journey together, in the caring support and company of one another. Let's help each other travel this way for the rest of our lives.

“With God, all things are possible” (~Jesus, Matthew 19:23)

Pastor David 😊

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