Only three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13). It will not be your nice car that will eventually rust out, the beautiful home eventually in need of some type of repair, or the front lawn you meticulously grow. Faith, hope, and love resonate inside every human being, saved and unsaved. They tug on every human heart – even that grumpy uncle. And as the Church, we are commanded to build upon these things daily as we interact with the people around us. At the end of it all, position, fame and belongings won’t matter; people will. And people are the greatest investment in life.
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Salvation isn’t a standstill or a rest stop, but something that is continuously worked out. When God removed us from our own Egypts, He then gave us the mandate to move. Our world is filled with people who are hurting and broken, and we have the solution – Jesus. But how can the lost know this Jesus unless we, God’s chosen people, invest in our neighbors? If God is for us...then He is also for our neighbors.
We all have people in our lives that we interact with daily – family, coworkers, the grocery store clerk. It’s time that we start seeing these people with eternity in mind. Our conversations need to go beyond the surface level of, “Hi how are you? I’m good,” if we really want to get to that person’s heart. Chances are the person who says they’re good is going through something deeper than the natural eye can see. And as the Church, we need to be that arrow that bursts through the cover up of “I’m good” in order to build people up. Not in a forceful way, but with grace and love.
We have been chosen for this. Outreach isn’t an event, but a way of life. It’s so easy to put qualifications on who you think belongs, but in God’s eyes every person belongs. Christ died for whosoever which means there are NO reservations on the cross! He knew we wouldn’t be perfect and that we would make mistakes, but that’s the beauty of the Gospel. If people were perfect, they wouldn’t need Jesus. It’s almost impossible to imagine in all our imperfections, God entrusts us to spread His Good News, but it is exactly what He’s asked us to do.
In a generation that is so quick to put people down, God whispers in our hearts: She is my daughter, he is my son, build them up. It won’t always be easy, and sometimes it might even get messy. But can you love others in the midst of their mess? Can you love people when they irritate you, when you don’t feel like engaging them? Even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, and we are called to be an extension of that to others. Transparency is the key that unlocks people’s hearts. People are able to sense if you are being fake; this will build a wall instead of building the person. Be open; share your story. Be consistent, and don’t give up. And remember that people are eternal mysteries, not projects to be worked on. So choose grace over force, and love with not just your words, but your actions as well. Let’s embrace the messy, raw, real like. Let’s embrace people, instead of religion.
The Building Process:
1. Know your audience: You are in this time and place for a reason, and people are placed into your life for a purpose! Get to truly know them; people are not interested in our beliefs until they see how much we genuinely care.
2. Never underestimate the power of praying for someone: Do not tell somebody you will pray for them later-pray for them now while you’re with them!
3. Listen more: Listen to understand, not to respond.
4. Show up: Be consistent!
In order to build the Church, we have to build people. We look and act past feelings, and step out of our comfort zones to invest in others. We are ambassadors for Jesus, and people are our assignment!