One important way we seek to do that is by building bridges into the community through works of service and acts of mercy.
After all, Jesus commanded us to do this very kind of thing in Matthew 5:16. He means for us to let our light shine in such a way that a watching world sees our good works and thus glorifies the Father in heaven.
The community outreach team recently sought to lead us into one dimension of this by acquiring for us the Adopt-a-Road rights to the stretch of Maitland Avenue that includes our office, property, and the SDA church where we meet. The boundary runs from Orienta on the north end to Oranole on the south.
Last Saturday a bunch of us gathered at the office for training (yes, you need training to pick up garbage along the road – we did other things too) for our first quarterly clean up effort along our roadway. Three hours later she looked as good as she has ever looked since I’ve lived in this neck of the woods. As three of us worked our way north from the office, we had numerous occasions to greet folks walking on the sidewalk. A police officer even stopped, lights flashing, and asked us to identify ourselves as we leaned over to clean out the entrance to another storm drain!
May I encourage us not to underestimate the significance of even this small step of road maintenance as a local church? It’s a means to a very important end. We are excercising our outreach muscles. We are reaching out beyond our cloistered reformed sanctuary and venturing out into a lost world that needs Christ.
May we do so more and more in 2010 individually and corporately! Hear the words of Robert E. Coleman in his chapter of Telling the Truth called The Lifestyle of the Great Commission.
To reach them [skeptics], we must take the servant’s mantle. When they know they are loved, we have their attention. In a generation like ours that has lost a sense of objective truth, living by their feelings rather than by faith, this may be the only way to make sense to them initially. Look around and see how you can meet a need. Take a fresh-baked loaf of bread to your neighbor. Better still, have the family over for dinner. Help the man next door on a work project like fixing a roof or building a room in the home. Tutor a child on a school project. Visit people in sickness. Be there to help in times of bereavement or when someone is in trouble. There are a thousand things we can do. It’s our business to identify felt needs of people around us and try to help. Unassuming as it may be, this is how our witness becomes credible. Communication usually begins at the feeling level. Don’t you like to be around persons who can feel where you hurt? One who is known as a servant will never lack opportunities in evangelism. Soul-winners are first known as shepherds (pp. 256-57).
While writing this post I noticed through the window my neighbor across the street hauling out his yard waste for tomorrow’s collection. I broke away and went to ask about his significant other. She hasn”t been around much. Turns out she has cancer – just diagnosed three weeks ago. Looks like this shepherd/cancer survivor has some work to do.
Won’t you do the same as the Lord leads?
Let us be bridge builders for God’s glory and our joy!