Missions Sunday: Who Is My Neighbor?
Mission’s Sunday was full of highlights! Doug Hayes gave a stellar message on The Good Samaritan (check it out HERE if you missed it)! He taught on how Christian compassion towards others is ultimately compelled by the compassion Christ first had on us. And as was illustrated in this familiar parable, we learned that God-honoring compassion is active, costly, and required. After the message, children were invited back to the auditorium to enjoy lively African music led by fellows from Urban Promise, and to learn from culturally-interactive stations.
In the afternoon, Joshua Gilmore expanded on the morning text, with a special emphasis calling us to “go and do likewise.” Sometimes it’s difficult to discern exactly how to do this, so a panel of church members shared about the role mercy-oriented mission has played in their lives. Here are some gems of wisdom from each of them:
“I was skeptical about the trip to Haiti, but seeing the joy of believers amidst severe poverty was life-changing. It challenged me to be more joyful, content, and generous.” – Curtis Baillie on how God used mercy ministry to affect his life.
“It’s not hard to get involve;, opportunities are everywhere. Most of them don’t take any special skills. You just have to be willing to do it.” – Lisa Debenedictis’ poignant wisdom on how to get
“Wise up to the enemy's schemes. He wants to make you feel like serving your neighbor isn't
needed, that you are ill-equipped… Think about the gifts God has given you, and ask Him to show you how to use them.” – Susan Haggerty on overcoming the temptations that hinder us.
“I find that when I am tired and worn out, serving and living out mercy is actually refreshing and strengthening to me.” – Judy Volz on the most surprising aspect of mercy ministry.
“In the same way I tithe to remember that all my money belongs to God, when I serve kids at Urban Promise, I’m tithing my time, remembering that it all belongs to Him.” – Tom Kulp on balancing a busy career with the priority of service.
“The longer we served in the mission field the less sure of ourselves and more dependent on God we became.” – Michelle O’Brian on how God uses us in our humble dependence, not our self-sufficient confidence.
“Since ministry is my full-time job, I’ve had to learn how to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit for those unplanned times of ministry that take me off guard— am I willing to take the detours?”
– Brenda Antinore on being led by the Spirit.
What a blessing it is to have a church family where we can learn from each other!
Another highlight was our “cross-cultural dinner”— a delicious meal (to those who got to fully enjoy it) cooked by local refugees. Between the meal tickets depicting real people from all around the world, the coinciding and disproportional meals provided (some of us left more satisfied than others), eating on the floor, and “dirty” water, this was a dinner to remember! We can’t wait for next year’s Mission Sunday!
In the meantime, there is much to be done! As Doug effectively illustrated, living in “suburbia”
can intensify the challenge of forgetting the needy, causing us to miss opportunities to be doers of mercy. Here are three practical ways to combat this tendency:
-Pray globally and specifically -Give regularly and generously -Serve locally and consistently
There are many people for whom we can have compassion and mercy. Sometimes we can
identify them on our streets, in our schools, and at our jobs. But sometimes we have to look a little bit harder. If you are interested in serving: the homeless, prostitutes, underprivileged kids/ teens, refugees, the unborn, the disabled, or the elderly, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.