All apologies to the pretty brunette who is going to end up reading this, but I am so fed up with excuses.
Excuses about what? You may ask. Or not…Well…excuses about why we don’t heed the words of Christ when He tells us; “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40b) and “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20a.) And why do we do this? Love. Simple, pure, unadulterated love. Christ speaks of love over and over again. In John, He says; “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35.)
To me, these words have always been simple, direct commands. Not commands in the sense of the law, mind you, but a sort of general orders for the Christian living. Christ was saying that His followers have care and concern for the needs of others, both on the temporal and eternal plains, thus we are to help meet the needs presently and also make them mindful of their eternal salvation.
That’s great, right? We all know this. All Christians know this because “the Bible tells me so,” right? So…why don’t we (I include myself as well) do it? Why do we whine and waffle and make up excuses instead of DOING? The answer is rather simple: sin and Satan. I will address that in another post, but I want to address the excuses first.
Here are some of the common excuses I hear about mission work/service/whatever:
“I really want to help people, but I don’t know what to do”
Really? I talked with a good friend about this over lunch yesterday a bit because it frustrates me so much. Anything is better than sitting around and doing nothing. My first answer is this: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=what+are+ways+to+serve+others Beyond that: have a few bucks to spare? Give it to the homeless guy at the red light. Buy coffee for the man behind you. Spot a few bucks to that woman who is short on her grocery bill in front of you in line. These simple, inexpensive things are great ways to show love to someone in a tangible way. Will these things lead somebody to give their life over to Christ? I don’t know…maybe not, but it opens the door for further discussion. It may not necessarily start that conversation, but it goes a lot further than doing nothing. As Teddy Roosevelt said; “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” You will never be able to start those kinds of conversations without putting forth genuine, loving effort. For a list of more ideas, go to http://www.acts18.org
Another excuse I hear is:
“I really feel this pull to talk about Jesus but I’m embarrassed”
Embarrassed? Really?!? Talking about Jesus makes you uncomfortable? OF course it will!! It’s not normal. Christ’s message of salvation through His death and resurrection is abnormal. Paul said; “but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23.) It doesn’t make sense to people. It sounds foolish. Why would a deity, if there is such a thing, send His Son to suffer not only through this mortal existence, but also a horrific, painful, and grotesque torture and death and the hands of His creation? For those who are truly mortified about speaking the Word of God in public, be reminded of Moses. He whined and complained to God about not having the right words and having a speech impediment, yet God enabled him and supported him as he freed the Israelites from Ramses. If you are just not a people person, look for anonymous-ish ways to tell others about God. The ideas listed above require face-to-face interaction, so try something else: buy someone’s food in a drive-thru. Fill the coin slots at a carwash or laundromat.
Another excuse is:
“I feel like I could do more, but I don’t know where to start”
I answered this one simply yesterday: if you think you aren’t doing enough, then do more. There are HUNDREDS of organizations that always need volunteers. There are MILLIONS of people who could use a little light in their lives. Sometimes a smile is enough. Sometimes it takes more. But never think that what you are doing already is insignificant. It is the work of God and He never fails and anything done to His glory is perfect in every way. Can’t afford to fly halfway around the world to work in a third world country? So what? Pray for those that can. Encourage them by helping with the behind-the-scenes work. Write them cards thanking them for their work. Pray that God blesses them as they bless others half a world away. Remember, we are all on the same team. We are, after all, members of the body of Christ and ” those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor” (1 Corinthians 12:22-23a.) You see? None of us are insignificant and all have a role in Christ.
The excuse that gets me the most is:
“I don’t think my gifts are useful for helping other people”
I don’t care what your gifts are. I am not interested in what talents you have or don’t have or want or whatever. It doesn’t matter to me, or God, or anyone else. To say, however, that your gifts aren’t good enough to be used to glorify God discounts the ability of God. It is saying that He is unable to use you for His glory. Whether it is music or speaking or organization or just being good at grunt labor, it is a gift from God to be used for His glory. Talented musician? See if you can go play at a retirement center. Music has a great therapeutic value and will be appreciated. OCD much? Go help at your local church. See if there is any backlogged paperwork that needs straightening. Strong back and strong arms? Be that guy that stops and helps people on the roadside. Volunteer to pick up trash. Mow for the elderly in your community. There is ALWAYS something. You just have to do it.
Now…let me be clear: I am no expert. I am no stellar witness myself. I have my flaws and cracks and failures and they are out there for all to see. I am just passing on my thoughts to my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Until the next one,
P.S. In the comments, I will post various other service-oriented organizations for those who are interested.